BALTIMORE RAVENS TRAINING CAMP TRANSCRIPTS
Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg
Coach, what have you seen from your kickers so far? Obviously, they have been very accurate. (Aaron Wilson) "We've had a good start to camp. The thing that our practices help us with is we've now had a number of opportunities during team time that replicate games. That is really valuable time. We do it in different sections in practice. We have standard line-up and kick-it [periods], but we've had a number of different situations where we have to-kick-it-during situations. That's really been valuable. The kickers are performing well. It's early; they are getting a lot of work done. Our offensive line fits and all that. The field goal has looked a lot better than it has the last couple of days, so we're making progress."
Some of the first free-agent additions this team made were to help out special teams. What have the new guys been like with Sean Considine and Corey Graham? (Kris Jones) "Considine and Graham have been two really quick learners, because they know how to play special teams. Sean is running our punt team. He is the personal protector on our punt team. He has done if before, but it's always new when you go into a new program. You have new calls and new concepts. He has been really good with that. He understands football, so going in there and learning our system really wasn't that big of a reach for him. He has been very diligent to do it. It's just like hiring a new quarterback; he has to learn all the new language and so forth. We haven't missed a beat with him, and I am really encouraged about that. Corey Graham gives us so much on the perimeter. We have a corner that can play a number of different ways, but he is a physical, tackling, playmaking coverage player, and also a very good blocker. We're expecting great things out of him, and that's why we got him."
Besides the personnel changes, how have you tried to address the coverage units and the lapses they had last season? (Ed Lee) "Well, we're just trying to get better. We're practicing hard. You noticed the first time we had shoulder pads on was today, and the first drill we had was a getting-off-a-block-and-making-a-tackle drill. I think that speaks to the emphasis we put on it."
Jerry, Cam [Cameron] was talking about Jacoby Jones getting in JUGS and machine work and working on his hands, especially thinking about punt return. How important was it to see him improve his hands with him being in the mix there? (Glenn Clark) "I think all of these guys, particularly guys that have played as long as Jacoby has, they all understand that you can't stand still. You have to improve at whatever you're doing. If you stand still, there is somebody else coming up behind you that is going to pass you. I think it's been great. Jacoby has been working on that since he got here. Whatever JUGS machine he had and whatever he was doing, it sure seems to be working."
Jerry, do you feel like [Jacoby Jones] would be able to work in kick returns, punt returns as well as being in the mix at receiver? (Aaron Wilson) "Just like any player, I think we'll see how much he is playing on offense. If he is playing a lot, he may be doing both, but he may not be doing every rep with both. I think it's no different than a lot of our starters. He is a starter in three wide [receivers], if he is, then we'll factor that in. It's no different than … Jameel [McClain] plays on punt team and Dannell [Ellerbe] has a big role on defense but plays on a lot of our special teams. That's the same type of thing. We are not trying to ration reps, but we want to be mindful of the contributions the guys have to make at other phases and then figure it out."
Do you envision Lardarius Webb returning a lot of punts this year? (Kris Jones) "I envision Lardarius being one of our returners, yes."
Coach, is there anybody else, perhaps Asa Jackson or Deonte Thompson, that could factor into that equation? (Michael Fast) "I think what you're going to find in preseason is that you're going to find a lot of those young returners with opportunities. It gets to the point of the game in preseason in the second half and then, 'OK, it's your turn. Go show us what you can do.' The unfortunate aspect of that is nowadays, in the kickoff aspect, there are so many touchbacks and balls are kicked out of the end zone, because it's so warm in August, and all these kickers' legs feel really good, and it's nice and early, so you don't get as many kickoff return opportunities as you'd like. But, we're going to give those young guys every chance we can to show what they can do."
Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron
Opening statement: "Hey, just a couple of things: Probably the biggest surprise for me so far is just the job we have been able to get done with our offensive line. I know with all the uncertainty … But Andy Moeller, Matt Birk, Michael Oher, Marshal Yanda, having those guys and then filling in some guys, that really, quite frankly, a lot of people haven't heard of, has given us three really good days of training camp. And the second thing that stands out in my mind is [that we have] just a great group of guys, great group. I know you are going to enjoy covering these guys. This is the best leadership … We have always had good leadership, but Ray [Rice], Joe [Flacco], Michael [Oher], Ed [Dickson], Dennis [Pitta], and 'Q' [Anquan Boldin], we just have a group of guys, Vonta [Leach], of leaders in this locker room and this offensive meeting room that is really, from a coach's perspective, is something to be excited about. So, those are couple of things."
What kind of strides has Tandon Doss made? He seems to just play faster and more precise. (Aaron Wilson) "You know what? He has. Yesterday was the best practice that he's had as a Raven. Today, I think he cramped up a little bit today, so we didn't get to see him as much today. But, we all know the kind of player he is. If he can stay healthy, he's a guy that I think is going to be an outstanding player, a guy that we won't have a tough time finding a role for him. But, this guy is a player."
When you plugged in K.O. [Kelechi Osemele] at right tackle, if need be, is he someone you feel like could start if circumstances warranted? (Jason Butt) "It's a good question; it's a great question, actually. I can't remember a training camp where the offensive line has ever been set early on. So, I think I'd like to probably be able to answer that maybe two or three weeks from now. I think it's probably a little premature to make any statements along those lines. But, we are just going to let this thing evolve. You always want your offensive line to play out. You are only going to keep about nine or so guys on your roster and you're only going to have seven active. You want to keep as much competition as you can. Obviously, he is in the mix. We drafted him for a reason. We were jumping up and down when he was still on the board. So, we will just let it play out, but obviously, we think he's going to be a really good player."
So, does the [Bryant] McKinnie thing weigh on you, knowing whether he is going to be your left tackle or Michael [Oher] is going to be your left tackle? (Aditi Kinkhabwala) "You know, I guess it could, but it really doesn't, and it doesn't for this reason: We brought him here last year and he filled an unbelievable role for us last year and really was a big part of us having an opportunity to win. [It's the] same thing. You just let it play out. All these things in training camp, you see it all over the league. The season is not tomorrow. So, you just let things play out. It's an opportunity for a, like you say, a K.O. [Osemele] another guy, Michael Oher, [to get] some work at left [tackle]. I think we have a good feel if things work or what Bryant can do at left tackle. And obviously, you have to have plan B anyway. Nobody is worried about it. It will play out the way it should play out, and we will be ready either way."
Does Michael look just as comfortable at left as he did at right or not yet? (Aditi Kinkhabwala) "I would say so more at left tackle than I have ever seen, but I think that's normal. I think a guy starts getting in his fourth year … You talk to the linemen over the years, even the ones that played pretty good as rookies, second- and third-year guys, they all tell you it's in that fourth and fifth year where everything just starts to gel and slow down. And Mike, the way his mind works, he is such a team guy, 'Right tackle, left tackle – Coach, just tell me where you need me.' All tackles aren't that way. Some see themselves as a right or a left. We got the right guy. It's great to have a guy that can play either way, especially a guy that can be a great left tackle."
It seemed like the first couple of years you had a lot more possession receivers and not as many vertical threats. Now with the addition of Torrey Smith and [Jacoby] Jones, LaQuan [Williams], etc., do you feel like you finally have the vertical stretch guys that match what you are trying to do with your height game with your offense? (Matt Popovec) "Really, I don't think the comparison might be as accurate as you would think, because Mark Clayton could run pretty good. And if you go back to that first year, we threw the ball up the field pretty well. But, with what you're saying is accurate in the sense that you are always trying to get faster. Torrey brings an element that we all felt and liked last year. You bring in Jacoby; you see what both our tight ends, Dennis and Ed, can really run. You are always looking for speed. I think in this division, you always want speed, but if you get guys with speed and size, because of the nature of this division and some of the elements you play in late in the year, we are kind of looking for both, and we are getting guys that can really do both. We are getting size and speed now. But, I really think, I think we have some vertical guys since we have been here, but I think we have taken another step in the right direction."
How has Jacoby Jones adapted to this organization both in the classroom and on the field? (Kris Jones) "Seamless. I mean, he is a pro. When you take a guy out to dinner when he is a free agent and you talk to him and you call people that he has played for … I talked to a dozen coaches. You talk to teammates. Great things were said about him, and the things that they said about how he studies, he's professional. They didn't talk really about his talent. Any receiver who one of the first things he does after he is drafted is buy a JUGS machine at his house, you know gets it. He gets what is important and what he needs to work on. I think he is a worker. Again, you've heard me say this before: I marvel at our scouting staff's ability to bring the right kind of guy, the right fit in here, and he is another one of those guys that I think is a perfect fit."
Last season Ray Rice led the team in receptions. Torrey Smith was the deep-ball target. Where does Anquan Boldin fit in do you think? (Ed Lee) "Well, he had over 1,000 yards last year. I think that speaks for himself to a degree in 16 games. He missed the last two and played outside probably more than he played his whole career. So, I think that the great thing for us is now that Jacoby – and whether it be Tandon [Doss] or LaQuan [Williams] – we can play 'Q' inside the F, we can play him outside the X, we play him inside the Z, we can play him inside the slot at Z. Again, in Arizona, he was pretty much the slot receiver, an inside guy. He's a perennial 1,000-yard guy, a guy that will move around different places. He understands all positions. You can't trick him. He knows what to do, so you are going to see a lot of him again, hopefully."
How has Joe [Flacco] thrown so far just a few days in and what do you see from his development as he heads into the season? (Aaron Wilson) "I honestly cannot remember the last time Joe has had a bad practice. I can't remember one, and then maybe you guys can. I think some practices are better than others, but he has all the characteristics, as you guys have heard me say and everyone around here as said before, for the kind of quarterbacks that win at this league and win big. It's fun to watch him practice, watch him compete. You guys had a chance to talk to him a couple of days ago, and I think you guys know where his mind is and what he is going to get done. This guy is a special player, but I think you guys all sense now, this is a special man. This is a special, special guy we have here."
What do you see in his relationship with coach [Jim] Caldwell? What are they bringing out in each other? (Aditi Kinkhabwala) "You know Jim's experience, but there's another great man. I've known Jim over the years, but now to get to work with him. I'm almost humbled by the opportunity. There's another case: The guys that John [Harbaugh] brings on this staff that you get to work with and the guys that I get to learn from, even as a coordinator, and guys that I get to help develop … But, Jim's been great for the entire organization. But, he and Joe, he's just like all those good coaches; they just have a knack for developing a good relationship. I think Joe is a fun guy to get to know. I think you will see great things from those two guys, but I think that's going to permeate through our entire offense. We have a great offensive coaching staff. I would encourage all of you guys to get to know those guys. We have some stars on this coaching staff, this offensive coaching staff; we always have on defense and still do. But, there are some stars on this offensive coaching staff, and I encourage you guys to get to know those guys."
Joe had a career low in completion percentage and was scrutinized last year. Looking back, what you can attribute that to and are there reasons you feel this year it's going to get back up to where it was before and maybe a career high this year? (Matt Vensel) "I think completion percentage is an offensive stat. Obviously, the quarterback is saddled with it, and there are some areas that we need to improve on as an offense and every man executing his job, protection getting better, receivers getting better, Joe getting better, everybody getting better. His accuracy throughout the course of the year was really outstanding. We didn't, as a unit, execute the way we needed to, and we have addressed that this whole offseason, and I think our guys are committed to making sure our offensive completion percentage is where we want it to be. The league record is what, 72, 71.8? Steve Young still have it, I think? That's right, there at 72, 72? You are shooting for 70, and obviously, we have some work to do and we have a lot of work to do between now and when the season starts, and that will be one of our major priorities."
Cam, Joe [Flacco] said that he thinks the goal going into every season is to be a Top 5 offense. He feels like right now you have the pieces to be able to do that. What do you think is the key to be able to get in that range? (Garrett Downing) "Well, the first thing you do is you execute. A lot of fundamentals … And that's the process we're in right now. The fundamentals of the blocking, the route techniques, all those things are the key. Once you feel like you are getting those things established, you have to take care of the football, because you turn the ball over, you lose possessions. You look at the really good offenses, they don't lose possessions. Take care of the football, maintain, convert on third down, score touchdowns in the red zone – those are the keys for us. I think we made progress in all those areas – got in the Top 10 on third down, which is the critical down in this league, improve in the red zone, score more points, those are the things we're trying to do. With all those things being said, our ultimate goal still is to be the winningest offense in the league. You could be the No. 1 offense, I guess, and the winningest, right? We've always had lofty expectations here, and that's not going to change."
We talked about Ray Rice catching balls earlier. Do you want him catching that many balls? (Aditi Kinkhabwala) "Absolutely. I think if you do the study, you look at attempts. For us to do the things we want to do, we don't necessarily need to attempt passes more, we just have to continue to execute more, get that completion percentage up in the high 60s. You do that … Now Ray is still getting the same catches, but now you are adding catches to everybody else. It's really a matter of doing the math. We execute better, and that completion percentage goes way up. We're not looking to take the ball out of Ray Rice's hands. The way people stack the box against us in the run game, a lot of our completions, you can call them runs. It's from me to Garrett (gestures to reporter standing near him). You've seen that, our screen game, those kind of things. The stats are just the way they're put on paper. Ray Rice needs touches – I think we all know that."
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
I know it's early in camp, but have you seen the plan for your defense come together a little? (Joe Platania) "Right now, at this point in time, what you do is you have an installation, and you kind of draw it out over the entire camp. You're not putting in the whole defense in Day One – you're kind of putting in segments. So, what you do is when you put in segments for that day, that's kind of what you work on. It may not be the perfect situation for a third down call on third-and-nine, but that's what you got in that day. If not, you try to put in everything, and we wouldn't be ready for that. So, what you do is you work on each thing each day so you can get it on film, talk through it, get it coached up. Then, hopefully, after about Day Eight, Day Nine into training camp, then everything kind of solidifies."
Dean, how do you feel about your secondary, particularly the depth at corner? (Aaron Wilson) "I think right now, there have been a lot of guys working out there. The one thing good about this camp, for you guys that have watched all this, we get a lot of reps from the veterans on down to the young guys. That's really good, because we have an opportunity now to evaluate those guys. It's really early to say. I feel really good about the whole secondary. I feel like we have some depth there. How it is all going to come together, we'll wait and see, but I feel really good about the way the guys are working and the way they are competing."
With Pernell McPhee out, how valuable has this time been to Arthur Jones? (Ed Lee) "Well, it's very valuable. Obviously, we'd like to have Pernell in there getting some reps, but whether it be Arthur, whether it be some of the young guys like DeAngelo [Tyson], no matter who it might be, they are all getting an opportunity. Like I say, one thing about how [head] coach [John] Harbaugh structured the camp, all of these guys are getting a ton of reps. Even if Pernell was back, I don't know that it would make a lot of difference with some of the reps they are getting. We are getting a lot of plays in."
Is Arthur making the strides that you might have anticipated? (Ed Lee) "Yeah, I think we'll know a little better – I can tell you a lot better – maybe a week from now than today, the first day of pads. What's hard on the defensive line, just like it is on the offensive line, when you are going without pads, you are running the plays, you are running a blocking scheme, you are running the defense, but you can't really come off of a block, because we are trying to protect everybody and you're not really trying make a lot of contact. Up front, it's a game of contact. The only way you can really, to me, analyze a defensive lineman or an offensive lineman, is going to be when the pads are on. Today was kind of the first day, and I've got to look at the film and see where we are. But again, I think everybody is learning the scheme, learning what they are supposed to do, which is what OTAs and the first couple of days are for."
How has Courtney Upshaw looked so far? I know he was trying to drop a few pounds. How is he moving around? (Aaron Wilson) "Every day, a little better. I think the OTAs were great for him. He got a ton of reps in the OTAs. The first couple of days, sitting here after Day Three, I don't know how many reps he has gotten, but it's been a lot. So, I think he is coming along. He is progressing pretty well."
Is he a kid that you think feels a lot of expectations? (Aditi Kinkhabwala) "You'd have to ask Courtney that."
Does it seem like he plays that way? (Aditi Kinkhabwala) "He plays like an Alabama kid. He is ready to play. He's a football player. He likes football, he is going to play hard. He learns real well in the classroom. He is just a good football player. What he feels expectation-wise, you'd have to ask him on that one."
Jimmy Smith experienced some cramping yesterday. What about today, did he have the same thing? (Aaron Wilson) "No, I think it was something in special teams. I don't know exactly what it was, but it was in the special teams practice he did something. I really don't know exactly what it was."
Sergio Kindle has made some plays over the course of the first few days. How has he looked from your perspective? (Matt Zenitz) "I think Sergio has made a lot of progress in this year. Basically, he had a lot of time off, and that's tough, and with an injury. But, I think he's really progressed. I think [LBs coach] Ted Monachino has done a great job with him here in the OTAs, and he really had a heck of a good day yesterday. Now, I have to watch the film today. I hate to always mention, because film is never as good as you think you are, and you're never as bad as you think you are. You think you had a terrible day, and you watch the film and you weren't as [bad as] you thought. Some days, you think you're really good and you see a ton of mistakes. I think he is progressing really well. I think he's come a long way here in the last few weeks."
Can you see a big difference when the pads are on in terms of what you're assessing? (Garrett Downing) "Yeah, you will when we watch the films. Like today, when you have inside run for the first time, it's really not fair for the offensive or defensive line on an inside run when the pads are on. A defensive guy beats an offensive linemen, but the guy can't cut him, he can't do a lot of things that he might do as an offensive lineman. Same thing on defense; he can't really punch the guy out, lock him and throw him off. But now when the pads come on, now is when you are really going to assess how we are really attacking the line of scrimmage, playing the run – same thing as the offensive line will analyze. We'll know a lot more after watching tonight. But again, you're not going to throw everything on the first day of pads either. It's a process, and every guy, even if you're a veteran coming back, it's a process of getting hit and going right back through it again. It doesn't take very long when you're a veteran, but it's always a process. It's just like when you don't play golf for six months – you don't usually go out and shoot 74. It takes a little while."
Is Ray Lewis being lighter something you encouraged him to do or is it something where you'd like the weight back on? (Ryan Chell) "It wasn't me encouraging him. That was something that he and Jameel [McClain] both did; Jameel's a little lighter, too. That's something that both of them kind of came to me and told me that was an idea they had, and I agreed with it. It wasn't my idea, it was their idea, but I also agreed with it. I thought it was a good idea."
Is there a trend across the league that defenders are slimming down a little bit to try to keep up with the pass attack? (Matt Vensel) "Well, I think it kind of depends a little bit on the scheme that you run on defense, too. I don't think you can ever label it and say, 'Well, this is what everyone's going to do.' I think a lot of it has to do with the style and scheme that you're going to play on defense. I think it also has to do with your schedule and who you're playing. If you're playing a black and blue division that's going to sit there and run, pound the ball, and that's four of your games during the year – which ours obviously is – than that's a little different. But teams are trying to spread out now quite a bit, and certainly, the more speed you can throw on the field, the better."
With Terrell Suggs out right now, do you think you've had to be a little more creative with your installs with some of these guys? (Jason Butt)"Nope. Not more creative at all. We have an install. We have a system, and that system is in place. And there's a lot to our system, and it's going to take nine practices probably to get in our entire system. When you get done with those nine practices, then you can evaluate where you are, and maybe what you need out of that system, more than maybe something else. But to say that we're changing how we install or anything else? Not a bit."
What have you seen from Corey Graham so far? He had a pretty good practice today. (Aaron Wilson) "One of the things about Corey is, that we've really liked, is his versatility. And Jerry [Rosburg] talks to the special teams, but we've played him at corner, we've also played him at the nickel spot now, and he's learned the nickel, and I've also told him to learn backup safety. You never know how things are going to go down the road. You don't know how many when you end up making all the cuts and who all is going to be here. You've always got to have those guys that are flexible, like Albert McClellan was flexible last year and went outside to inside backer. You always try to have those guys that are the hybrid guys. That guy, really, I think has had a real good camp so far. It's early, but he's had a good camp."
Is there any particular area with Sergio Kindle that sticks out the most in regards to his progression? (Matt Zenitz) "Well, I think classroom. You know, when you're away from it for a long time, you're not in it. It's not so much the physical part; it's the mental part of the classroom. You can sit in the classroom all you want, but if you know you're not going to go out and practice, it's hard to keep it. It's easier when you get it in the classroom, take it right out, do it on the field, then come back and watch the film [and] correct yourself. Well, he hasn't done that. So, all of a sudden, now he's getting that, and I really see progression in just knowing what to do. And when you know what to do, you're going to play faster."
What areas of progression have you seen Jimmy Smith make, and how much has he grown since his rookie year? (Matt Vensel) "I think a ton. The thing I think everybody kind of forgets – but it was around the league, it was all equal – is the lockout last year and nobody being here for OTAs. So, those guys came in under – everybody did, not just our guys – everybody kind of came in under a little different situation as a rookie. So, I think when you look around the league, some of the rookies took a little longer last year. Instead of starting out kind of fast, they kind of progressed as the year went on, and I think he's continuing to progress."