Baltimore Ravens Practice Transcripts 8/25

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement:"[It's] good to see everyone. Thanks for coming out. It was a good practice, real fast and pretty sharp. I'm happy to be back at it, and obviously, we do two things now: We get ready for St. Louis for a preseason game, but we also get ready for the regular season at this point and start pointing in that direction. So, that's what we're working on."

Do you have an update on the injury report? (Bill West)"Do you have anything specific? I don't have anything off the top of my head. Who are you interested in?"

I was just interested in both sides of the ball. After the game, I know we talked a little bit about some injuries. I was just trying to get an update on injuries across the board. (Bill West)"I don't think we have anything that would be newsworthy. [Dennis] Pitta and [Ed] Dickson were out here, starting to step up their activity a little bit. Obviously, not in practice yet, but they did a few things. We had the situation with Emanuel Cook; you guys know that situation, so nothing's changed there. [Sean] Considine had the concussion, so he's working through that, but he should be fine."

Do you think you'll need to add a safety? (Aaron Wilson) "I think we have enough safeties. It's always a possibility; we always say we're always looking for good players. We are comfortable with the guys we have."

In terms of the kicking competition, now that you've had some time to think about it, do you feel like it's you're going to let it play out, originally as planned, and make the decision after preseason?* (Aaron Wilson)* "We'll see. I don't think we have made any decision yet. We're on schedule. We learned what we needed to learn, but it's not an easy decision. If it was an easy decision, we would have made it. It's not an easy decision. Obviously, both guys bring something to the table. A lot of you guys have written about that. I don't think it's complicated as to what the factors are. So, we will just have to make a decision, but we don't have to make a decision before we have to make a decision. So, why should we rush that? We can get as much information as we can."

So, it would be more likely that it would play out? (Aaron Wilson) "I don't know. I don't know what the odds are, but it could go either way."

You mentioned Ed [Dickson] and Dennis [Pitta] returning. How meaningful was it for them to come back? (Ed Lee) "Well, it's good to get them back out there and running around. They are both catching some passes and moving. They have both done a great job of staying in shape; they have both been in the weight room and doing the cardio. So, that's a good sign."

Will they need much time to regain that chemistry with Joe [Flacco] or should it be pretty seamless? (Ed Lee) "I'm going to vote with seamless; I'm going with seamless. Let's get them right back out there, and we'll be fine."

**Cut-down day Monday, another cut-down day Friday … Are those the hardest days as a coach? *(Bo Smolka) *"No. There are harder days, but that's right up there. No doubt. You have guys that have given so much, have worked so hard, who have helped make us, in the end, who we become as a football team, who don't get a chance to go on with the team. Perhaps they get a chance to play with someone else; perhaps get on the practice squad, which is really still part of the team. But, sitting down with those guys face-to-face is very challenging, because you develop a relationship with them, and you really care about them and they care about the program and everything. Everybody deals with it differently. Some guys are mad, some guys are sad. It's all different; every single guy faces it in a different way. They are all good guys, and that probably makes it that much tougher."

Is it more difficult for the receiving corps that you have, a bunch of receivers that you have this year, for the cut-down?* (Bill West)*"I don't know if it's more difficult, but it's certainly difficult with the receivers, because we have a number of guys who are in the hunt for a spot, and you can only keep so many. We've kept six in the past, which has been a high number compared to some other teams. There's good competition there."

*Tandon [Doss] had a few catches the other night. Overall, preseason games, training camp, how has he looked since coming back? (Matt Zenitz) *"He's looked very good since coming back. [It's] what we would expect from Tandon. He's had so many things he's had to fight through with just the physical stuff, the injuries and things like that, that you really want to see him do well and get his chance. When he's been out there playing, he's done very well. So, that bodes well for him."

You mentioned you kept six receivers in past years. Is that the thought process for this year?* (Garrett Downing)* "We could. We will just have to see. It could be seven, it could be five. We will just have to see how it shakes out with other positions. Injuries are still part of that, so I don't know yet. But we have a history of doing that. A lot of that has to do with how guys do on special teams, too. We have to fill up our special teams. That's something that Jerry [Rosburg] and I spent a long time talking about today and can't underestimate the importance of that. Special teams will be a huge part of those last few spots."

What have you seen from Sam Koch? It seems like every year he makes some sort of improvement. (Aaron Wilson) "I would agree with that. Every year he makes improvement. He's more consistent than ever. It seems like he gets stronger every year. One thing that we are trying to work on with Sam is in order to be as consistent as he can possibly be, try to have as many no-bad-punt games as he can. Sam will … Sometimes you punt five, six, seven times; you go 6-for-7, or 7-for-8 or 5-for-6. Let's shoot for 6-for-6, 7-for-7 in terms of turning the ball over and putting it where it's supposed to go. That's something that is difficult to do, but he's capable of doing that."

Is Marshal Yanda still making pretty good progress? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Marshal is making very good progress. Yes, very good progress."

What would you call what [Yanda] has? Like just a bruise thing? (Aaron Wilson) "I'd call it a strain. It's nothing serious. He could have played in the game if it would have been a regular season game. He'll be OK."

TE Ed Dickson

On how he is feeling after coming back from a shoulder injury:"I feel good. I feel really good. It's tough not to be out there, and once you get a chance to be out there for a little bit, you go out there with all smiles."

On being able to extend his right arm to make catches:"It felt pretty good. [I was] very limited out there. I didn't want to overextend anything. But, ever since the day I went down, I have been working to get back – stay in condition, get out there and run with the team. Doing things as a team helps me a lot and helps my confidence and helps everything around that."

On if he feels good about playing in the opening game on Sept. 10:"I do. We'll go day by day, and we'll see how I feel."

On how eager he was to return to action, especially with TE Dennis Pitta injured as well:"Very eager. I am a competitor. I don't like sitting out for anything. It doesn't matter if it's a scrimmage or a game. Just missing these preseason games was tough on me. I got to watch some of the young guys grow up and help my buddy Dennis [Pitta] get back and help myself. The chance that we got today, we got the chance to open up our lungs a little bit and run a little bit and do a little bit of football stuff on the field."

On how having Pitta and himself back will help expand the offense:"It helps a lot. A couple of veteran guys – we've been here for a couple of years – we know what we're doing. We go fast. We aren't 100 percent out there, but once we get back, we're going to pick it up from where we are right now and pick it up day by day. We're not going to come in whenever we come back and be a couple of weeks behind."

On what he thinks of the no-huddle offense and if he ran it at Oregon:"That's all we did at Oregon. *(laughing) *I like it. I think it helps us out because we get more plays, and it puts the defense on their toes because they have to be conditioned like us, so I think it's a great idea."

On if his chemistry with QB Joe Flacco will pick back up quickly:"Yeah, I don't think it stopped. The day before the game, this last preseason game, I am in the meeting room with him, staying in his head. On the field work, we're going to have to pick up from where we left off, but I think we'll pick up from wherever I left off at."

TE Dennis Pitta

On returning to practice after breaking his hand several weeks ago:"It feels really good being able to practice a little bit – run around, catch a few balls, not full-speed, but it feels good to be back, certainly."

On how he is feeling right now:"It's feeling good. Each day it is getting better. I'm continuing to rehab, doing what the trainers want me to do and just taking it day by day. That's all I can do and hope to be back as soon as possible."

On having less doubt that he will be ready for the opening game on Sept. 10 than he was when the injury occurred:"I think being able to get out there and run around and actually catch the ball a little bit certainly helps my confidence and helps me understand that I will be back playing soon enough. But, we're going to be smart with it, obviously, and just take it one day at a time."

On if the hand bothers him catching passes:"I am not catching passes full-speed, obviously, but the catching that I am doing feels good. We're not going to push it too much, but we'll start to increase that as the days and weeks go by."

On if there will be any hesitation during his first full-contact action:"I don't know. I guess we'll see when we have to cross that bridge. But right now, the things that I am doing, I feel good, and I feel confident moving forward."

On how much time it will take to regain the chemistry with QB Joe Flacco:"That's something we've been developing for a few years now, and I don't think it's something that you lose right away. So, I think it will come back quickly once I am able to start jumping in there and running with the offense."

On what he has seen from Flacco this offseason and preseason as he progresses:"He is playing real confident right now. He is making all the right throws. He is being a true leader for our offense, and we're running a lot of good plays for him where he can get the ball out quickly and make decisive reads. He is doing a great job with it."

On how the no-huddle offense has looked so far:"Obviously, it has looked really good – last game being evidence of that. We continue to evolve with it. It's something that's relatively new for us, but I think it's going to pay big dividends for us in the long run."

On if he saw a different step from Flacco this offseason, even before OTAs and minicamp:"I think each year he is getting more and more confident, this year included. It's evident on the field. He has command of the offense. He is out there making the right checks, the right reads and just doing a great job for us."

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