Baltimore Ravens Practice Transcripts 08/15


Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: "Thanks for being here. [It was a] really good, spirited practice – really a lot of fun out there. You saw how we finished up with the guys catching the punts; the guys are pretty good athletes now, these big guys. A special welcome, we have police vets here, special group visiting us. We also have Sherman [Cypress], Make A Wish Foundation, here. The players are spending some time with him over there. We welcome him. We really appreciate him being here. God bless him. It's just been a good day. Now we turn our focus to Friday night. We'll start getting ready for that and try to be the best team we can be on Friday night."

You talked about the spirited practice. First fight you had. It looked like you held back for a little bit, seeing what was going on out there. Did the coaches enjoy it for a little? (Jerry Coleman) "No. What are you going to do about it? Get in there, start tossing bodies around and get them out of there? They got back on the line, and we ran the next play pretty quick. It was a spirited fight, no doubt about that."

For Friday night, will you have the starters do most of the first half? (Aaron Wilson)"We will play it by ear right now. It could be as much as a half, it might not be. We'll just play it by ear, see how it's going, and see how many reps we get. Again, it will be more individual. There will be some guys staying longer than other guys. Starters, I think there are categories in there as well."

Is Torrey [Smith] a guy you will be cautious with? (Aaron Wilson) "We'll see. We'll see.  I don't really want to mention anyone particularly right now. We will just see how it goes."

When it comes to other young wide receivers who are competing for the final roster spots there, how big is it for them to differentiate themselves in the game, and also, what's the challenge in looking at their potential and their skill sets and what they can do against the production of what they've done in these preseason games and what the second-year guys were able to do last year? (Matt Vensel) "Well, that's great. That is a challenge; that's the challenge. You try to factor all that stuff in – production vs. potential, if you want to call it that, upside vs. how guys can help you right now. Of course, special teams is a big part of that, what type of receiver you are looking for, what role they might play for you right now. You just try to do the best you can with that and take all the information, practice and games, and make the best choice you can. It's tough, because we have some good players."

Did we see a new play today, Michael Oher and Terrence Cody on the punt return? (Bill West) "You will not see that in games, I can assure you of that. At least they won't be catching the ball; they might be blocking. But like I said, it shows what great athletes those guys are. To go back out there and catch a 45-yard bomb from Sam Koch is pretty impressive, and they both did it. There were ramifications. They earned their guys a little time off tonight. There was a lot of pressure on those guys for that catch."

What's it like coaching Sean Considine again after having him early in his career in Philly? (Evan Washburn) "Well, it's great. Sean is a constant and professional. He's one of the smartest player you are ever going see. [He is] very physical, very tough, very active in the back end. [He] can play a lot of different positions. Special teams was a big part of it for us, too. I enjoy being around him. He's a really good football player, so he's going to make us better."

How pleased are you to get your whole offensive line back for the first time this practice, to have Jah [Reid] and now Bobbie [Williams] back, and do you feel like they are going to get a good test against Detroit's front line? (Ryan Mink) "Well yeah, great test. This front line is so physical. They are so deep, they are so talented, and really, their whole football team is, when you look at them. They are just a real physical, talented football team. It's going to be a big challenge for us. I'm pretty sure, knowing that team's personality, they are going to try to come in here and make a statement, even though it's a preseason. I'm sure they'll still be trying to make their statement, and our guys will understand that."

Have you talked to the team about dealing with these new referees, with the replacement officials? (Jerry Coleman)"We have. Basically we said, 'You respect them.' They are the officials, and these guys are guys that have been doing it for quite a while, and they know what they are doing. I thought our last game they did pretty well for the first time out there. There are always some miscues. We had plenty of miscues ourselves, but I thought all-and-all they did well, and our guys will respect them."

What do you expect to see out of your team in this game against the Lions that will kind of indicate a step forward as opposed to how you played against the Falcons? (J. Michael Falgoust) "Oh, you mean like the 72 plays we ran the second half, or the fact that we scored 31 points and won the game? I mean what part? What are you talking about?"

No, I'm saying what you would judge as progress from what you saw with the Falcons. What do you hope to see from this game that you didn't from the previous one? (J. Michael Falgoust) "Just all the things that we can do better. That's what I'd like to see; do those things better."

With the rookies that are playing in their second preseason game, is there a learning a curve for them, or have they been in practice long enough they should know certain things, or are they still in the phase where they get a pass for certain things? (Mark Zinno) "We don't really give them a pass. It's a good point, but we are kind of at the point now where you have to know what you are doing. They have had lots of reps, both practice and one game. They got a lot of reps. We will judge them based on the fact they are trying to be a pro football player and how they stack up relative to the guys they are playing against."

How do you, as the coaches and players, stay focused on the hot, humid days of camp? (Michael Fast) "I mean, how can they not? There's a lot at stake. Bernard Pollard got up there and talked about what we are trying to do as a football team and where we are trying to go. It's what they do. We have a bunch of competitive guys that love football. Where else would they rather be? What else are they going to be thinking about? It's pretty competitive out there to let your mind wonder. So, our guys are pretty focused out [there]. That's something we take pride in."
Is this as good overall you've felt about the health of your team? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I don't know. I can't remember. I feel good about the health of our team, though."

Do you think Bernard [Pollard] would have a nice little side job as a boxer? (Aaron Wilson) "Was he boxing in that fight? I saw Arthur [Jones] in the middle of that. It was all a big scrum to me. We'll have to go back and evaluate the tape on that, I guess." (laughing)

Is that something … You said Pollard talked to the team. Did he kind of pull everybody together? (Kelli Johnson) "No. We do something after every practice where different guys talk, and it was his turn. He's been around. He epitomizes our style of play in a lot of ways – the physical nature of it, especially. He made some points about that, and guys respect him."

CB/RS Lardarius Webb

On what he thought of the fights in today's practice: "Actually, that was maybe the first fight we've had [in training camp], today. It got a little rough. [You know] how long this camp is. Guys are out there fighting and competing, just letting us know we're competitive. But, we love each other at the end."

On if S Bernard Pollard could have a future in boxing:"UFC [Ultimate Fighting Championship], WWE [World Wrestling Entertainment], one of them. (laughing) He's very feisty though."

On the secondary's fight with T Jah Reid: "I don't know, but if you look at that fight, Jah [Reid] got beat up kind of bad. (laughter) I ran from it. No fighting for me, but they got him."

On what the secondary is looking to show in Friday's upcoming game vs. Detroit: "We are just looking to show that we are getting better, week after week. Last week, I thought we did a great job on those guys. Cary [Williams] had good coverage on them. They were just making some good catches and good throws. This week, we want to step up our game and get better than we were last week. At the end of preseason, we want to come in at the top of our game, basically."

On cutting down on the explosive plays:"Yeah, that's something that we always talk about with our defense – no big penalties, no big plays. When you come into the first game, you get a little anxious. You want to get the interception here, you want to jump here, but it's all about feeling the game out, feeling the team out. We kind of jumped the gun, tried to jump too much stuff, and this game, I think, we are just going to let it come to us – just play football let the defense open up to us."

On if facing the Lions, with their explosive passing attack, is a good test: "It'll be a nice test. Last week was a really nice test with [Falcons WR] Julio [Jones]. Those guys that have been together for a couple of years, they work well together. The passes were on-point and everything. [They have] big wide receivers, just about like this week with some bigger guys. We'll have Jimmy Smith back out on the end. It will be a little different than it was last week. I know we had me and Cary out there, but it will be a little different rotation this week."

On CB Jimmy Smith's improvements from his rookie year: "Tremendously. Not even about his physical ability on the field, [but] his mental aspect – learning football, learning the offense. He is coming along well. He has been a little short, but he is working his butt off, and that's something that we like to see from a young guy. He is coming out there as much as he can, and he's giving it all he's got, and that's all we can ask from him."

On his health: "I'm tired, but feel great."

On how much he looks forward to going up against guys like Lions WR Calvin Johnson and QB Matthew Stafford:"I am looking to go against anyone. It's not that it's just 'Megatron' [Johnson]. But, it's going to be a nice challenge, going against one of the best receivers in the league. Why not start it off in preseason going against him? Getting your confidence up, getting back used to the game, like I said. It's going to be a nice test for us, because Stafford is one hell of quarterback. I think he does a great job of running that offense. This week is going to be a great test for our defense."

On if last week's game prepared them for the Lions' offense on Friday night:"Yeah. Like I said, it was the first game. A lot of us were kind of anxious for a lot of stuff, not really looking at those deep, explosive plays. This week, I think we have our focus together, got settled in a little bit more. I think we are ready"

On if he has any suggestions for T Michael Oher and NT Terrence Cody, who were fielding punts at the end of practice: "I thought both of them were going to miss it at first. I've seen Michael Oher catch a pop fly before and it didn't go well. T-Cody, I just never thought in a million years he would have caught it, but he caught it with one hand, and I can't catch it with one hand, so he did a great job."

On what he has seen out of CB Cary Williams: "It's the same. Once you get years and years under your belt, you are starting to learn more than just what you have to do. A lot of young guys just say, 'OK, I have man-to-man, so I am going to play man-to-man,' not looking at what the offense is trying to do to them. All of us, actually, are improving in that part. What is the offense trying to do to me? What is he trying to get me to show him? That's what we're all improving in – seeing what they are trying to do to us. Last week, like I said, we were probably jumping the gun, still learning, trying to see what the offense is trying to do to us, and maybe we didn't guess right. This week, we are still studying. We are still in that boat, trying to be the best."

On how exciting it is to practice in front of thousands of fans at M&T Bank Stadium and Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium:"It was great. It was just great to see the fans out, to see the support that Baltimore has out here. A lot of people showed up. The kids showed up, the moms and dads brought out their kids, and we just wanted to give them a show and have a great time out there, and I thought we did a great job at it."

On playing a game in front of thousands of fans at M&T Bank Stadium: "Oh yes, it's going to be exciting, especially because y'all brought up last week where they got a couple deep balls on us. So yeah, we are ready to come back and redeem ourselves just a little bit."

On how much last week's game at Atlanta gauges where the secondary is at right now:"I really think we are in a great spot right now. But like I said, we are going against great receivers last week and this week. [Falcons WRs] Roddy White and Julio could be the top receivers in this league, and coming up this week, we are going against 'Megatron' [Johnson]. He is, by far probably, the No. 1, next to [Cardinals WR Larry] Fitzgerald. It's going to be a good test for us. Knowing the schedule that we have this year, all the quarterbacks that we have this year, this preseason test that we are getting can do nothing but help us get better, help us learn. We are ready."

On if getting a challenge early in the preseason is good preparation for the season: "Yes, it is. Just knowing how to go in and prepare for a top receiver … When they have an all-star receiver, knowing how to go into that game preparing for him and the things around him, yes, it's going to prepare us a lot right now." On how much he looks at tape before a preseason game:"For the first game, you don't have any film on them. You don't know what they can really do, what's their scheme. Once you play one game, you can look at it and see what they did last week. So now, you have that film to go by. The difference is we didn't have any film on Atlanta to go by about what they want to do in preseason. But, Detroit has played one preseason game, so now we can at least look at it and see what they might like to do, some of their tendencies. So, it'll be a little different."

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