Secondary Coach Teryl Austin
How is Matt Elam looking so far? (Ryan Mink)"Good. Good. [He's] going through the usual changes that a rookie goes through, but he's smart. He's tough, he's fast, he gets football, and I think he is going to be a fine player for us soon."
**What is he working on most? *(Ryan Mink) *"Everything. It's a different deal going from college to pro, but it's still playing football. So, he has to learn our scheme. He has to learn how we like the guys to line up – what calls we make. So, he has a lot of things to learn, but he's learning them, because he is bright, and he gets football. He has a lot of stuff to work on, and our job is to get him there by the season."
How much help and challenge is Michael Huff's versatility? (Glenn Younes) "It's great. He has great range. He has really good speed. We all know he has played corner in the past. He has played safety, so he gives us a lot of flexibility matchup-wise. He can cover, he can blitz [and] he can play in the back. We will use that to the best of our ability to try to confuse quarterbacks and try not to line him up in the same place all the time."
**It seems like Corey Graham did a really good job last year stepping in, but also kind of limiting big plays. Why was he so effective and what did you do to limit the damage when there was completions? *(Matt Vensel) *"He limits the damages, because he is a good tackler. He's a good football player that way. I think what he does is he understands football – understands the scheme. We always like to teach things top-down. If they complete it on an out, that's great. They have to complete eight or nine of those to get down and score a touchdown on us. We don't worry too much about those. We just made an emphasis to stay over top, and I think he did a great job of following that."
Where have you seen growth from Jimmy Smith so far?* (Ryan Mink)* "[I've seen] a lot of growth from Jimmy [Smith]. He seems like a different guy right now. I think playing as well as he did the last two playoff games coming off the injury and coming into the offseason knowing that this is a big year for him [was beneficial]. And he's really gotten himself into pretty good shape. [He's] really studying, doing a lot of things that [he] maybe would have taken for granted the first two years. He's really stepped that up, and it's really shown in how he's played and how he's progressed this offseason."
Along those lines, how hard is it to get guys who are physical specimens like him to understand the other side – field study and work ethic?* (Glenn Younes)* "I think that's all part of coaching. There's lots of guys – because a lot of guys that we get are physically [gifted] – [who] are going to have a lot of great tools, and it's our job to teach them how to be professionals. And, everyone is on their own course. Some guys get it a lot faster than others. But, when he gets it, and I'm really confident that Jimmy [Smith] will get it, he's going to be a really good player for us."
**Who is the guy that he has surprised you so far in camp? *(Kevin Richardson) *"Matt Elam is what we expected and maybe a little bit more. We have an undrafted [rookie] named Moe Lee who is actually … He just kind of seems to be around the ball quite a bit, No. 34. Now, when that gets into games and real life situations, we will see how that plays out. But, he's a young guy who's really kind of caught my eye."
Wide Receivers Coach Jim Hostler
What's been your impression of some of the young wide receivers so far throughout the camp? (Ryan Mink) "It's been good. They're working hard. There's a great competition. Obviously, as we move forward, the competition is going to get closer to training camp and through training camp, it's going to get closer to the season, and that's going to pick it up a notch. And all those guys had an opportunity to compete for that job."
What are you seeing from Tommy Streeter in terms of where he was a year ago as opposed to now? (Aaron Wilson) "He's grown. He's grown both on and off the field. Maturity-wise, he's getting a little a bit more mature and he understands what a pro is. On the field, he's getting better fundamentally and technique-wise. Young players, they've got to grow. They've got to develop. It just doesn't happen, and he's no different than that."
What is exciting about Deonte [Thompson] other than how fast he is? What is it that jumps out about him? (Aaron Wilson)"Well, he's extremely competitive. He's durable. He can grind all day. He's a great route-runner. He's a finisher. Those are all exciting things."
Tandon [Doss] is somebody who's in that mix for more playing time. What have you seen from him, not only these last couple days, but even during OTAs as well? (Matt Zenitz) "Same thing. He's picked it up. Obviously, all these guys have to. So, he's picked it up. He knows what he's got ahead of him. He's got to chase a couple guys down ahead of him to get more playing time, and he's got a couple guys behind him coming. He understands that. He knows what he's got, so that's what he's doing."
With Jacoby [Jones], do you see his role being similar to what it was last year or do you see it changing? (Garrett Downing) "Well, Jacoby [Jones] right now is the No. 2 guy. So right now, Torrey [Smith] and Jacoby are starting, so that's definitely going to be more than Jacoby did last year. But as all of this plays out, Jacoby is in a battle with Tandon [Doss] and D.T. [Deonte Thompson] and David [Reed] and Tommy [Streeter] and all of those guys – Aaron [Mellette]. All of those guys are battling for that second, third and fourth spot, and it's all real close. It wasn't like last year when we had two guys that were the two front-runners and everybody is playing for that third and fourth spot. Now, everybody is playing for that second spot."
Along those lines, Deonte is known even in college to be a great practice player, and that's what you guys seem to preach to the guys – practice like you play. What's the difference between Deonte and getting on the field more? I know it's probably so slim. (Glenn Younes) "I'm not sure what you mean by a practice player." (Reporter says: "Great practice player.")"I'm not sure. All that has got to carry over into the game, which he showed in preseason last year and he showed early in the season as we went last year. It's just part of the progression. It's the trust that he builds with his teammates out here and the quarterback. All those things are involved in what goes into Sunday. So, he's got a great start on it and he's heading in the right direction."
You mentioned progression of Deonte. With Tandon, is there anywhere in particular that you've seen a progression with him in his first couple years now to this year? (Matt Zenitz) "Not any different. As you grow in this sport, as you go through it year by year, those guys get more mature. They understand the game more. Things slow down. Techniques and fundamentals become natural to them. Those are all things that you see when players are older. Guys will go out there and just execute. The young players are heading in that direction, and Tandon is just a little bit farther ahead of some of those younger guys because he's been through it a little bit longer."
I know it's a different position, but what have you seen from Ed Dickson so far during this offseason? (Matt Zenitz)"Same I've seen in the past. Ed – he's an in-line guy who can block. He's a down-the-field kind of guy. He's got a lot of versatility. He's fast. He showed up late in the season last year, so he gives us a lot of versatility."
How much can the overall speed that you guys have at receiver potentially help a quarterback like Joe [Flacco]? (Clifton Brown) "Speed is always a factor in this game, but it's got to be able to play. It's not just as easy as how fast you can run, obviously, because then everybody would be the fastest guys out there. We're fortunate right now [that] we've got a few fast guys that can play, and that's what it's really all about. We had fast guys last year that could run faster than Anquan [Boldin], but they couldn't play better than him. All of that adds that up to a football player, and that's really what it's all about. We're just fortunate that a couple of those guys that are football players happen to be fast."
OLB Terrell Suggs
On if this is the best he has felt in years or in his entire career:"Yes, I mean we just have to wait and see how it works in real-time play. Right now, we don't have any pads on, and we [are] just kind of feeling it out. We just have to see how camp goes and how the preseason goes."
On if there was increased desire to get in better shape after last season:"Yes, of course. Anybody could tell that I really wasn't the player that I've known to be around here. A part of that was the Achilles, and the other part was just small things like the diet. So, I had to make some changes this offseason to be the best player that I could be for my team."
On if the changes were expansive: "Just small things. You had to really watch what you eat, find out what your food allergies are. [I] just kind of really attack it. Usually, just like in '11 [when] I came in, and I gradually got myself into shape and ended up having a good year, but I really wanted my offseason to be really focused and focused on the task at hand."
On where he thinks he is in terms of his explosiveness:"I don't know. I feel good. I don't want to sell myself short. I also don't want to pat myself on the back just yet. I'm just going to continue to work. It's just a pleasure to go to work with the guys right now. I'm really just enjoying that. I didn't have an opportunity to do this last year. Like I said, I feel all right. I feel good. I'm just continuing, like I said, to work and get better as a team."
On if it was personally frustrating at times last season not being the player he wanted to be: "Yes, you do want to do good personally, but the overall goal is that the team wins. We were doing really good in the playoffs. As cliché as it sounds, we took it one game at a time and approached every team as it was our Broadway – this is our Super Bowl. In the end, it [worked] really good in our favor."
On how excited he is to have OLB Elvis Dumervil on the other side of him:"I'm ecstatic. I'm ecstatic I've had good guys on the other side of me before. I had a great guy in Jarret Johnson. He wasn't really known for his pass-rushing. Paul [Kruger], he had a really good year, explosive year last year. To get a guy that his No. 1 thing is to get after the quarterback is really exciting, especially [because] we added the addition of [Chris] Canty. We get 92 [Haloti Ngata] healthy. We are going to be a nice little solid front."
On if there is enough room for a couple of vocal leaders: "We're a very unique locker room. I think everyone knows their positions and their place. I don't think there's any pressure on any one man to do it. We have all been around here long enough to know what needs to be done and if something needs to be said, who is appropriate to address something. We are a veteran team. There are a lot of guys in this locker room who are going to have to do some stepping up, not just me."
On DL Chris Canty and S Matt Elam not lateraling the ball to anyone after they intercepted it: "I think right now we just have to take baby steps. Like I've said, it is minicamp. Neither one did laterally the ball … (laughing) But, as long as we get the turnovers, we are happy with that right now – just baby steps."
On if he feels more explosive than he did a year ago: "Like I said, it's just minicamp. We don't have any pads on. I guess we will just have to wait and see how it plays out. Like I said, I'm not selling myself short, and I'm not patting myself on the back just yet. It's early, and there's still a lot of to be done. We are going to leave it at that."
On how much weight he has lost since last season: "I'm light." (laughter)
On why he is subdued during this interview and if it is because of the hot day: "That could be it, but I think it's just, like I said, this is really flattering for me that I get to do this this year. I had the unfortunate feeling of sitting [out] minicamp out last year, and it didn't feel too good. I'm just really excited that I get to practice with my team. I don't have to sit out the first six weeks and rehab. I'm just really focusing on that. Like I said, I told my team, last year I kind of took them for granted that we go to work together. It's just really flattering that I get to go out there and practice with the guys in June."
On how much he puts pride into his offseason workout program: "Like I said, I've really never had to face an offseason after coming off an injury. It was the first time I've had to do that. Like last year, I didn't get to train. Taking it for granted the year before, I really appreciated just the ability to be able to go workout, run, just play volleyball with 10-pound medicine balls. I just really attacked it this time. With age comes experience."
In if he had any specific goals this offseason: "The goal was to train so that you can be the best player for your team, for your organization and for a city that's given you so much. I would have to say that the organization and the fans have really been patient with me, especially coming off an injury. So, I really wanted to show them the player that I really am."
On what he thinks he and OLB Elvis Dumervil are capable of: "Not just that, but the defense as a whole. We also brought in Michael Huff and Chris Canty and [Marcus] Spears. So, we brought in a lot of guys to make our unit solid. I'm really looking forward to defense as a whole – just how special and how good we can be and really try to achieve some great things together."
On if a younger Terrell Suggs wouldn't have appreciated everything last year: "I wouldn't say that. Like I said, I've been very fortunate up until last year to not have any significant injuries, so I never really had it taken from me. And to be sidelined and to watch your brothers go to war without you is not a really good feeling and it really sucks. So I wouldn't say I didn't appreciate it, but I definitely did take it for granted. But it just goes to show you just how special and unique the opportunity is just to go out and practice and play. It's a really unique thing. Even if sometimes the practices get hot and long and tiring, it could be worse. You could be on the sidelines not participating at all."