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Press Conference Transcript - Training Camp 8/6


Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement:"OK, great to see everybody. Just finished up a good practice, a lot of situational work. We'll have a special teams practice this afternoon, and then tomorrow we're going out to the stadium. So, [we] want to encourage everybody out there [to] come on out. Bring the kids. Really, any kids, especially kids that haven't had a chance to be in that stadium. Kids, if you're watching, tell your parents to bring you out. It's free. It's free. [We] would love to have you out there. I cannot believe the success of the autograph thing with the kids out here. It seems like there's more kids here at practice than there are adults. There are kids everywhere out here. It's just fantastic. It's been a neat success. Jameel McClain's got a bunch of kids from inner-city Philly over there under the tent, so it's a neat day for us."

On T Jared Gaither sitting out of practice: "Jared's got some muscle cramps – spasms I guess you'd call them – between his shoulder blades and his upper back. So, he just can't get into his stance and really play right now, so we've got to work that out somehow."

On the importance of learning multiple offensive line positions: "It's really important to learn multiple positions in this league, because you only really activate seven offensive linemen in a game. Now, your starters, you want to settle them into their position. They're going to play the spot they're going to play. But, we do a lot of formation stuff with our offensive line, like some teams are starting to do. So, they really have to play both sides. In the near future, we've got to lock guys into their spots where they're going to play. We'll work toward doing that."

On if everyone is looking forward to the first preseason game next week: "I'd like to say they're counting down, but I think they're counting down to the next meal, the next chance they can hit their pillow, really. That seems like a long way away during training camp. It'll be Carolina pretty soon, and they're having a good camp down there, so it'll be exciting to do that."

On whether the stadium practice and first preseason game will be a true test for the kickers in that environment:"It's a lot of true tests. There are tough kicks out here, and they've got the team watching and stuff. But yes, the games – even the scrimmage in the stadium – will be neat to see, but the games are the bottom line. That's what you look at mostly."

On what went through the process of releasing CB Walt Harris today:"I think Walt was really disappointed just that he wasn't able to get healthy and practice. That was the toughest thing. He's close, he feels like. He's coming off the injury from last season, and when I talked to him this morning, his goal is to go back and really get with his trainers and get himself right where he can play. He feels like he can play this year, but he just knows he's not there yet right now."

On whether there is a possibility of bringing Harris back to the team at all:"I think, maybe. It's not something we've talked about, but we like Walt, and he started learning the defense. So, it would always be a possibility, sure."

On adding new CB Chris Hawkins and what he brings to the table:"Chris is a young guy looking for a shot. [He] had a nice career at LSU. It looks like he's got some skills, but he'd be a developmental guy right now. It gives us another guy to look at."

On the absence of RB Willis McGahee at practice today:"Willis has a little bit of swelling on the knee, not much. I'd say [it's] precautionary, just to give it a little bit of rest."

On the progression of rookie T Ramon Harewood and whether he's making good strides:"Ramon is [making strides]. Ramon – like we talked about earlier – he didn't practice that much in the OTAs, and he comes out here and he's fighting through. He's playing both sides, he's taking every snap, and he's the kind of guy that doesn't make the same mistake twice. Really a smart player, you know, for a guy that has very little football experience historically. He has a long way to go, but he's moving pretty quickly."

On if it's good to see the veterans who were injured back on the field:"Great to see Matt [Birk] and then Derrick [Mason] back. Derrick looked 100 percent, and Matt really looked 100 percent, too. I'm sure Matt will be a little sore because it was his first practice, but it was good to see him in there. And credit again to Chris Chester – I thought he held it down very well the last week."

On if OLB Terrell Suggs is a better player at his lower weight: "I guess it depends on what you're talking about asking him to do. I would say overall he is, because he's going to be quicker and more explosive, especially on the pass-rush stuff. We've seen that out here. I don't think he'll hurt his run-stopping ability at all. I think he feels strongly he wants to be down in that area, and he's doing it."

On how much he will show to the Panthers in the preseason prior to when they meet again in November: "At this stage, that's so long from now, it's like another season. We'll probably be a different offense and a different defense by then. We won't show a lot to anybody. We're just going to run our base stuff and keep guys in playing shape and see who can play."

On if he's seen improvement in QB Joe Flacco's ability to complete tough passes: "I think that's a really good observation. He's made some tight throws to some big receivers, and they've come up with some good catches. So, there's a certain confidence that starts to get built there, which seems to be coming along."

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