BALTIMORE RAVENS TRAINING CAMP TRANSCRIPTS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "Welcome. Thanks for coming out. Good day – obviously, and you guys saw it – [a] very physical day of practice. It included situational work: third-and-short, fourth-and-short, coming out and goal line. Those are the toughest, most physical situations in football, and that's what we did today. A number of our veterans, we pulled down today, including Ray [Lewis], Ed [Reed] and Matt Birk, off the top of my head, because they don't need to be in that practice. A lot of other guys do need to be in it. I thought the guys competed really well. Offense got the better of it today. The offense did a real nice job. 'B-Mac' [Bryant McKinnie] is here. He came in yesterday. He started the process of getting his physical finished up this morning. He and I had a long conversation, a very good conversation. Like I've said many times, I think the world of 'B-Mac.' I do believe he is a hard worker. I do believe he has been working hard, but he is not ready to practice yet. When he is ready to practice, he'll be out there."
Does [Bryant McKinnie] still have a chance to be a part of this team? (Jerry Coleman) "Yes."
Did he tell you what the accident was? (Dave Ginsburg) "He strained a muscle in his back. I didn't ask how he did it. I think he said he fell, but he strained a muscle in his back."
Coach, will he still be fined for missing time? (Jerry Coleman) "The CBA still applies as far as I know, but I haven't talked to [general manager and executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] about that. But, my assumption is that it will apply."
Is this a relief to you? There has been a lot of speculation about whether he'd be here, and is this just a relief to see him? (Dave Ginsburg) "Well, it's great to see him. It was great to see him and talk to him and visit. That was great. I wouldn't characterize it with any emotion. There's really not any big emotion behind it."
Will he be going on the non-football injury list? (Aaron Wilson) "You know what? I don't know. Would have been on the practice field, so I'm not sure what the status will be."
How's Courtney Upshaw doing? He seemed to ding up his arm? (Aaron Wilson) "Courtney Upshaw got a bruise on his shoulder, so he is out for now. It's a bruise, and he'll just take the time that it takes to get healed up. Jimmy Smith bruised his shoulder yesterday, too, and he was able to get back. So, it kind of gives you an indication."
Is Haloti Ngata making some strides? (Jeff Zrebiec) "He's making strides. He'll have to pass his conditioning test and be 100 percent healthy with the hamstring."
Any word on Pernell McPhee? (Glenn Younes) "Pernell McPhee is getting closer. We're working on lateral movement right now. I don't really have a timetable, but it's nearing. I'm hopeful for the first preseason game, but to be honest with you, I'm probably ahead of myself saying that because I don't know."
So, is too early to figure out the situation with Bryant and Michael Oher at left tackle? (Mark Zinno) "My first thought right now is going to be competition. We are going to put the best five guys out there, and it has become a competition. It's not ideal in the sense that I'd love for Mike to be settled on one side or the other, but by the same token, that's what it is. We're going to play our best five guys."
Coach, would you address what happened with Dennis Pitta? We saw him leave practice. (Jerry Coleman) "It looks like he broke his hand. It looks like he'll have to get it repaired in some form or fashion. [He] should be back for the first regular season game. But that's very tentative, and I'm a little ahead of myself there."
How did Davon Drew do filling in for Dennis today? (Ed Lee) "Davon seemed like he did well, just watching of the field. I'll have to watch the tape. It seemed like he did all right."
Could you speak more about Tandon Doss? (Kris Jones) "Tandon has got a little hamstring tweak."
Coach, to clarify, did you say Pitta for the preseason or regular season [opener]? (Glenn Younes) "You know what? I shouldn't really say because I really don't know. But, it's not going to be that long. Tomorrow, we could find out it's different because of the MRI, so I probably shouldn't have said anything."
Coach, what have you seen from Jack Cornell? (Matt Vensel) "He's got an opportunity. He's done a good job so far."
What does it mean to have a guy like Anquan Boldin, who has played so much football and is a pretty productive guy? (Aaron Wilson) "Well, we talked about young guys the other day, but you have to have veteran guys, too. You can't run a bunch of kids out there either. You have to have guys that know how to play and have been there, understand the game. This is a hard, tough sport, as evidenced by today's practice. Guys like Anquan know how to handle that."
WRs Coach Jim Hostler
What is it like having a guy like Anquan Boldin to be a resource for you besides all the things playing? (Aaron Wilson) "It's outstanding, it's awesome. All the things you could say about how great it is to have a man that can lead men, give direction, show players how it is done, not just physically but mentally, what it takes to play, how to prepare [for] 16 game, plus four – it's outstanding having that example on and off the field. Family. There is no better example that way."
Is [Boldin's] desire and intensity still the same as when he first got here? (Ed Lee) "His approach is he starts over every year. He may be a little bit ahead of some of the younger guys with where he is at, but he still starts over, meaning that he still comes in with a mindset he's going to work every day to get better. It might be a little bit different than the young guys. It might be a little bit more precision. It might be a little bit more detail. But, he still approaches it that way. It's still, 'I am going do whatever I can to make this the best year I have ever had.'"
Do you guys sense that opposing defenses still fear [Boldin]? (Ed Lee) "Oh yeah. There's no doubt. That's the kind of guy you could throw the ball to 12, 14 times. He'll catch 10 balls, he'll catch three touchdowns. There is no doubt about that. He can hurt anybody at any time."
In terms of drops and how costly they were last year at certain points, how do you work on something like that? Is it just repetition? (Jerry Coleman) "Yeah, and we work on it every day – proper mechanics, body position, the repetition of it, the eyes tracking the football. All those things we work on every day."
How are Tandon Doss and LaQuan Williams coming along and what kind of role do you see those two guys having this year? (Garrett Downing) "They are coming along good. Like all young players, they are still developing, they are still growing. They are much farther ahead than they were last year, because they know what's going on around them – what to expect. Now they are focused on the details of it, getting better, how they fit into the whole package, and that's all going really well."
I know it's still early, but do you have an idea of how many receivers you'll end up keeping on the roster? (Garrett Downing) "No idea. I never have, and I'm not really ever concerned about it. All I try to do is make Torrey [Smith] better than Anquan, keep Anquan better than Torrey, make LaQuan better than Torrey, make Tandon better than LaQuan. So, all I try to do is make that last guy better than the guy in front of him all the way down the line and let that all sort out."
What can Torrey Smith do for an encore? (Ed Lee) "Well, he can get a lot better. He can get a lot better at his underneath routes. We can use him a lot of different ways. He has to prove that he can do that, and that's through repetition in practice, and then it's obviously in the game, taking that, going to the game, being more than just an over-the-top guy and being able to take advantage of when people play out away from him."
What have been your early impressions of Deonte Thompson? He is a guy we saw making a lot of plays in the OTAs. (Luke Jones) "Yeah, 'D.T.' [Deonte Thompson] has done a good job. For a guy that was pretty much off the street coming in – don't know much about him – he's done very well. He had some questions about how well he caught the ball. Was he going to be able to transition that to this level? And he's done great. It's been outstanding. He's a football player. He understands fundamentals. He understands football. He can play fast. He has done a really outstanding job so far. His [question] is going to be: Can he carry that over time?"
How significant has it been adding Jacoby Jones to the mix? (Ed Lee) "Another speed guy. It gives us another way to take the top off. It gives defenses another thing they have to think about. Can one guy stop a guy that can run like that? It just gives you another version of Torrey so they don't have only one speed guy to worry about."
What does Tommy Streeter really need to work on as far as continuing to grow and progress? (Luke Jones) "Well, all these young guys have got to work on anything, but for Tommy it's pad level – he's such a tall guy – the ability to run routes, and not just be a down-the-field, jump-ball guy. Because as we know, that's one dimension in this league that doesn't carry very far. You've got to be able to get open, do more than one thing, and that's the process that he's going through."
What developments have you seen from Torrey Smith now that his first year in the NFL is behind him? (Daniel Paulling) "From last year to this year, obviously, Torrey is much farther ahead. He understands what's going on around him, how to run routes, all of those things have been expanded through the offseason [and] carried into training camp. And then on top of that, fundamentally how to catch a ball. We spent training camp last year going through the growing pains of a young player that doesn't know how to fundamentally catch a ball, and we all witnessed how he struggled at that. But now, that's all behind him. He knows that, he keeps continuing to rise, and he works extremely hard every day. So, he has a chance to grow and get better."
How do you think this receiving corps compares to the ones you've had here in the past? (Garrett Downing) "It's a little different. We have a little bit more speed. Obviously, 'Q' [Anquan Boldin] is 'Q', and you know what he is going to do and how you are going to use him. But, we do have a little bit more speed outside, which we didn't have. We don't have the great route-runner that 'Mase' [Derrick Mason] was, but we are developing that. I have a couple young guys that down the road are going to be very, very good route-runners. As good as 'Mase'? Who knows? That's all to see, but we have a lot more speed. People have to think about doubling us outside a little bit more, the ball going over their heads, and that helps Ray [Rice] in the run game."
WR Anquan Boldin
On why he decided not to take the day off when given the option: "It's a little different at receiver. When we get days off, 30-and-over guys, I kind of stay out there, because if you have one receiver that goes down, it kind of messes up the whole rotation. So, I don't want to put the guys in that situation, so I went out there and got a little work."
On if he feels like his body needs a day off: "Well, I mean, coach [John Harbaugh] looks out. He has a pretty good feel for the locker room. But, he gives some guys that option; I usually don't take that option. I haven't yet. That's just because I feel like I need to work."
On what training camp feels like as a veteran: "It's the same every year. You try to find different things that you can improve on, because you will never get to the point where you are perfect across the board. So, every year you go back over the last season and look at something that you wish you would have done better and kind of work on those things."
On if he feels like he is healthier now: "Definitely. For me, last year was tough just because I came into camp with the injury. I had a partial tear of my meniscus the entire year. There were times where it swelled up, and it was tough to get in and out of my cuts. But, after the surgery it felt great, and I've had the entire offseason to rehab and get a lot stronger. For me, I'm moving around a lot better, a lot quicker. I think it shows on the field."
On what Boldin does to help the rookies: "For me, I kind of pull those guys aside and kind of coach them up. I think coach 'Hoss' [Jim Hostler] does a great job of allowing me, if I see something, to talk to them. A lot of coaches get offended by that, but he is a guy that encourages it. I'm watching when I'm not in, watching the guys, seeing what they are doing, just trying to nitpick and see what things they can do better. But, for the most part they have done a great job up to this point, getting into the play book, which allows them to play fast. It hasn't been as much coaching."
On his impressions of WR/RS Jacoby Jones: "He's a great talent. Not only can he bring a different dimension on special teams, but on receiver as well. He's a guy that can stretch the field, a guy that is fast, a guy that defenses have to respect. So, we look for him to stretch the field."
On how this wide receiver class compares to what he has seen in the past: "I think everybody does something different, but we have a lot of guys that do certain things great. Like I said, you have Torrey [Smith] and Jacoby [Jones] who can stretch the field, myself working the inside, along with LaQuan [Williams], Tandon [Doss]. Deonte [Thompson] is a guy that can work the slide as well as play outside – another guy that can stretch the field. And, when you mix in our tight ends in and our running backs, it's a hard group to stop."
On if Boldin is in the same shape as he was when he first got here: "For me, each year I feel like I get better. Like I said, this year I am a lot healthier, but also understanding what the coaches are expecting, what Joe is expecting, on the same page as Joe, seeing what he sees. For me and him we talk after every play, 'What are you seeing on this? This coverage what are you thinking?' So, I think as we go on the relationship just grows."
On if he laughs when called "old" by people outside the organization:"Well, I'm just glad I don't read too much when it goes to articles and stuff like that. A lot of that goes over my head because I just don't see it."
On how important it is for TE Dennis Pitta to come back: "I didn't know that. He's definitely an important part of our offense. I think you saw last year him play a big role, especially when it came down the stretch. Dennis is a guy that can play inside, a guy that we can line up outside, get different mismatches. So, he's a nightmare for defenses across the board. So, it's a good thing when he's on the field."
On if Boldin feels like it is a blessing still being able to play in the league: "It's definitely a blessing for me. I count my blessing every time I come up, because the life expectancy in this league is about three years. You find a guy like Ray Lewis who plays 17 years, or Ed Reed who's played 11, or myself who's played 10; we beat the odds. I think for us, we aren't satisfied just being on the field. We still want to play at a top level, and that's what guys are all about – not just being on the field, but in order to play that long, you definitely have to be good at your craft. You have to work on it all the time, but also you need to know how to take care of your body. That's a correlation with all the guys that have been in the league that long."
On if T Bryant McKinnie is important to the offense and if Boldin is excited to see him: "Definitely, he's a guy that started all 16 games for us last year. He's definitely a big part of this team, a guy that we love having out there."