Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"It's good to see everybody here. I appreciate you guys being here. The second day of our rookie minicamp is underway. We're through one practice. We have another one to go; we have meetings [next]. It's going well. We have between 40 and 45 players here right now practicing. It's the draft choices, the rookie free agents that we signed, and it's also 20-plus tryout players who are here to get their shot and see if they can earn a contract in the National Football League. Obviously, it's very competitive. The tempo has been good. They're really quick learners. I was told that we had the first year ever of doing the rookie minicamp where not one guy missed a flight, was late for a flight or couldn't figure out what plane to get on. [This is] the first time it's ever happened, and we had 100 percent of our guys pass the physical, which has never happened before. That's a really good statement for the class and for the group of guys. It's also a part of the ongoing process for our offseason program, which continues tomorrow. We'll be into our fourth week, and we'll have between 80 and 90 players here for that. It's all going well. We're working really hard to continue to improve as a football team."
John, there has been some talk around the NFL about changing the rookie camp process. How much have you adjusted, or is this the normal way you have done things? (Jeff Zrebiec)"This is what we've done. We've kind of built into this over time. [This is the] ninth year now. We've improved it, and we like to bring players in and free agent guys in and practice and go to work."
John, what are your impressions of WR/RS Keenan Reynolds as he attempts the switch from quarterback to wide receiver? (Gene Wang)"Keenan is doing a heck of a job. It's definitely a transition. It's real. It's not something I think that … I think he said it, really, best yesterday: He said guys have been doing this over and over again, rep after rep, thousands and thousands of reps under their belt, and he has maybe a couple dozen under his belt right now. That being said, he's doing really well. He's a natural athlete. He has natural hands, which is a big plus. He can get in and out of routes. He looked really good catching kickoffs, obviously. He's catching punts out there now. He's a guy that has a lot of work to do, but he has the ability to pull it off."
Is there a different message you deliver to these guys before they hit the field? There are guys that are trying out, whereas at other points during the season you're not facing that scenario. (Jeff Zrebiec)"Everybody understands their different situation. No two players are ever in the same exact situation. Anywhere from a first-round pick to a tryout guy is different. It's all the same in the sense [that] we're all going out there to practice together. We tell them that this is the Ravens for the next two days, and this is who we are. We're practicing together, and we're a team."
What's your initial impression of CB Tavon Young, a very small corner, going up against bigger wide receivers? (Joe Platania)"Tavon has looked really good. He's been quick; he's played the ball really well. His speed has shown up – changing direction. He's had a good start, and I'm really impressed with what we've seen so far."
How much can you tell, in this kind of setting, a player's IQ, instinct and being able to process everything? Can you get a gauge on that? (Keith Mills)"Actually, you can get a pretty good gauge on the football IQ part of it – the processing part of it – because there's a lot of mental stuff that we throw at them. That's a big part of what we're doing – to Jeff's [Zrebiec] question, I think that's part of it. There's a teaching method to it, and you want to throw a lot of stuff at guys and see how much they can grasp and how much they understand and see where they're at going forward. You can't do that if you're not testing them on the field and in the walk-throughs and things like that."
Is the tempo that you have them work out at the same as what you guys do during the season? And can you tell something from that alone? (Keith Mills)"Oh yeah, you can tell. Right away you look at a player and you get an impression as a coach. We're always making evaluations, we're always forming opinions, and sometimes it changes from one day to the next. You can love a guy one day and not love a guy the next day, as a football player – and then love him the day after that. It's a roller coaster ride a lot of the time, but you do look for consistency. This is just the first step for some of these guys."
Do you have guys say, "Coach, this is a little different tempo than what I'm used to in college."? (Keith Mills)
"They don't say too much right now. (laughter) They're just trying to hang on right now. It's not quite the tempo of our team, but I'd say for a rookie group, it's pretty darn good."
I know DE Bronson Kaufusi was here last weekend; does he have something going on now? (Morgan Adsit)"No, Bronson tweaked his back a little bit yesterday. He was out here yesterday practicing, did a good job, and strained his lower back a little. So, he's not practicing today. We might have five, six, seven guys who had one thing or another. We had a young man break his foot yesterday – one of the tryout guys, a fullback from Michigan State. It's just a fluke thing. Stuff happens as far as that goes."
Is RB Kenneth Dixon going to be fine? I didn't see him participate today. (Jeff Zrebiec)"He has a hamstring. He had that right away coming in. I guess he hurt his hamstring at his pro day a little bit."
John, how much are you looking forward to seeing the vets come into the building? OTAs aren't too far away (Jeff Zrebiec)"I'm excited about the vets coming in for OTAs, but we have two more weeks before that. We've had over 60 guys here, veteran players here, for the whole offseason program the first three weeks. We've had them here; it's great having them here. The more, the merrier. I'm looking forward to the guys who aren't here getting here, but the guys who are here are really working hard and doing a good job." We got to watch Joe Flacco's brother [Mike], and he has some of the same mannerisms. Is it fun to have him out here? (Jeff Zrebiec)"It's been great. Mike is a great kid. He does move a little bit like Joe. The body mechanics, a little bit, are similar, so it's fun to watch."