Press Conference Transcript - Training Camp Practice 8/17

RAVENS TRAINING CAMP

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement:"OK, great to see everybody. As you can see, it's Military Appreciation Day. We got the military out here from all the services, had some of the Navy sprint coaches out here. They've been with us pretty much the whole training camp. It's just a real special day. We're real proud of what all the personnel in the military, all across the country and overseas, have done for us. We just can't thank them enough for their service [and] for the sacrifice the families make. When you get to know the families of the people serving in the military – men and women – and you see the sacrifices that their families make and some of the things that they have to put up with and endure for the service of us, so that we can do the things we do, live the way we do, enjoy freedom and safety the way we do, we just can't thank them enough for what they've done. And this is a very small token of our appreciation from the Ravens and all the Ravens fans."

On how G/C David Hale is doing after being shaken up at practice yesterday:"You know, I'm not sure. He landed right on his tailbone, so it appears to be a bruised tailbone, which is extremely painful. They haven't been able to get a CAT scan or an MRI to my knowledge, yet, so to make sure it's not fractured. We'll have to check on that. He just landed straight on it with Haloti [Ngata] on top of him, so it's a little bit painful."

On whether there is a possibility that the injury could cost Hale the whole season:"I really don't know. We haven't gotten an MRI yet, so I wouldn't be writing that yet."

On whether C Matt Birk is just resting his elbow or if something else is going on:"Matt Birk has got just a little tightness in his neck. Matt's going to be a guy, I think, we're going to be very judicious with throughout training camp and even throughout the season. I don't think a lot of practice is what he needs, but he's up there [in age]. When you play in the offensive line that many years, you want to be smart with those guys and how many contact reps they take."

On how it looks like CB Lardarius Webb has been progressing, and his take on Webb saying he isn't in a rush to play during the preseason:"That's kind of been our position all the way through with all of our guys. I think, as you said, we might want to be cautious with it. We're going to be cautious with all these guys. The thing you don't want to do is have a setback. He's really doing well. I think he's progressing ahead of schedule from what I've been told. It won't be long before you see him off of PUP and out here practicing with the guys, but I think we are going to be cautious with it. And if he can play in the preseason, and we feel very comfortable that there's not going to be a setback, then we'll do it. If we think there is any possibility of a setback, a reasonable possibility of a setback, then we'll probably just save him."

On whether he's talked to QBs coach Jim Zorn about returning to FedEx Field this weekend, and what kind of contributions Zorn has made with the Ravens:"Jim Zorn, obviously, we've had fun with it. And it's going to be very meaningful for him. I hope the Redskins fans are very respectful. This is a good man. He's a great coach. He's brought a lot to us as a Raven, and I know he gave his heart and soul for the Redskins for two years. And that's kind of what it's all about. It's a tough business, but we're proud to have him here. He's meant so much to our quarterbacks and to our team, and he's made us a better football team."

On reaching out to Zorn after he left Washington: "As far as just reaching out to him – before I think we had the opening – we had a chance to talk a few times, because we had become good friends just being up the road from them. And [us] getting the [head coaching] jobs at the same time, Joy [Zorn] and my wife, Ingrid, had spent some time together. So, we had developed a little bit of a relationship with our families. So, we'd been talking pretty much all the way through. But then when Hue Jackson had the opportunity to go to Oakland as the offensive coordinator, then the dialogue changed, and we were just very fortunate that he chose to come here."

On whether there are any differences in Zorn as a person now from when he was a head coach:"I'd say it's the same Jim Zorn – just a good man, quality person [and a] tremendous teacher. You know, I've really been able to learn a lot from him in the way he sees things as a former head coach – just like with Cam [Cameron], just like with Al [Saunders], just like all the guys who have been coaches before in that position. It really helps you a lot as a head coach."

On what he is thinking LB Prescott Burgess' role will be this year and how he is playing so far in camp:"Prescott's playing really well. He's fighting for a spot, just like a lot of the guys are, and I think he's acquitted himself extremely well. He's had a very good camp. He's very physical, he knows the defense inside and out, [and] he's a really good football player."

On the importance of the nose tackle position in the 3-4 defense:"Right, well you can't play the 3-4 without a dominant nose tackle. There is a lot of space between the two offensive tackles. There are three offensive linemen, and basically, a nose tackle is over the center, playing two gaps. And that's a pretty difficult thing to do. Kelly Gregg – there has not been a better nose tackle in this league than Kelly Gregg the last what, five, six, seven, eight years, since he's been starting here? And he does it a different way than most of them – very athletic, plays leverage, knows the schemes extremely well, and I think our young nose tackles are learning through Kelly."

On whether RB Ray Rice has been tapping him on the shoulder for some more work this week:"Ray's a competitor. He wants to play, and we'll be smart with Ray. He'll play as much as he needs to in the next few games, but Ray is going to play a lot in the regular season, too."

On Rice playing in the "Wildcat" formation a little bit today:"We run that. We do a lot of stuff, so teams have to prepare for that. I'm sure the [New York] Jets will be lining up against that here now, tomorrow, probably. (laughter) That's what we do."

On WR Marcus Smith: "I think Marcus has taken big strides as a receiver. He grew through his injury as much as any player I've ever seen. He's become a real quality wide receiver, plus he brings a lot of special teams value. Marcus is in a fight also, but he's done very well."

On how much he pays attention to the Jets on "Hard Knocks": "You don't see anything that we'd really be interested in seeing. It's not like they've got their practice script and their coaching video up. If they had that, we'd take a close look at it. We do suspect that coach [Rex] Ryan has had a few of his local friends from Ellicott City out here with their cameras videotaping practice, but that's OK. He knows what we're doing. We pretty much know what they're doing. I'm sure there'll be a few wrinkles, but it's fun to watch."

QBs Coach Jim Zorn

On his emotions heading into Saturday's game in Washington: "I'm familiar with the stadium, that's for sure. I'll be in the other locker room, which is OK. I suspect I'll have some good feelings about what those fans do, how they support the Redskins. Some of the players I'm very fond of. It'll be interesting going there and being on the other side."

On if it will be weird coaching for another team: "Yeah, it'll be different. I don't know how weird it'll be because my responsibility – and this has happened since I was hired here – is to get these quarterbacks ready and get this offense ready in any way I can. That's what I'm doing right now."

On if he is able to put his head coaching experience in perspective: "Yeah, I think there's a lot of learning experiences, and I've written a lot of things down. I've thought about a lot of things. I've had some conversations with different people just trying to get a feel for different issues, some I wouldn't change and some I wish I could have changed. And yet, I really believe this: We live in the circumstances, and we have to do deal with the circumstances as they come. I think that's what we try to do. We tried to make the most of what we had there, and here I am. Here I am."

On if he expects to speak with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder: "I don't know. I haven't talked with him."

On how his outlook has changed as a position coach: "I think it's been really helpful to have been a head coach in this league and to understand what it is like. I can feel for John [Harbaugh], stay out of the way, call [and] try to give input when needed. I'm making sure our offensive coordinator [Cam Cameron] – because I work on the offensive side – that he can do his job and I can do mine. I really think there's enough there for everybody that you don't have to get in each other's way. I think those are some of the perspectives learned as a head football coach."

On if he learned anything about himself during his time in Washington: "I think as the first year and second year were put together I felt really comfortable in that position. It's an exciting position, it really is. It's intense. It feels, when you're a head football coach, it's much like playing the game when you're out there on the field because there's so much involved. There are so many details of the football game. You do feel like the intensity level is very high, and I think head coaches, much like most other coaches, are very competitive. You cannot have an error, you can't have a mistake, and that's what we coach to – perfection. I think that's been brought out in me extensively. It's kind of to the max. When you think about a position coach versus the head coach, of being responsible for everything, there's just sort of a heightened awareness there. It really is."

On the benefit of having multiple former head coaches on the Ravens' offensive staff: "I think there's kind of a veteran experience there where each guy brings something different to the table, not only in his personality, in his experiences with different offenses and coaching different players with their different styles as well. I think it's unique."

On how he describes his feelings towards the Redskins: "I don't really have… Let me think how I can describe it. That's a good question. I got close to some of those players that are on that team, so I wish them well, but we all move on. My concentration is now to help this football team win. I'm really excited about being a part of the Ravens. That's where my concentration is. I don't spend a lot of time going, 'Gosh, oh, gee whiz, I'm not this or that,' because we don't have time. We're all concentrating on, and focusing on, this football season. That's it."

On the last time he spoke with Daniel Snyder: "The night he fired me."

On if he feels in his element as a QBs coach or still thinks about being a head coach: "Right now, I'm not thinking about the head coaching job because I know what my responsibilities are, and there's a lot there. At the right times, I hope to think about those things, but no, I'm not thinking about those things right now."

On moving only 35 miles away from Washington after getting fired:"I feel fortunate, to be honest with you. I'm not really looking at the proximity. It was nice to be able to not have to go so far, to still be a part of the communities, both in Maryland and in Northern Virginia. So, that part has been nice, but there's no other place in America that that could've happened."

On if he listens to the sports talk radio in Virginia:"I haven't listened much to sports talk radio, and I haven't been home. It's pretty much full-time here right now."

On if he kept his house in Virginia:"Yes."

On if he thinks his firing could've been handled better:"I've never really looked at that situation as being fair or not fair because I always put myself in a player's position. When he gets cut, how do you handle that? How does a player handle it? I've been cut before, I've been demoted before, and so I've always felt like, 'What's the best way to handle it?' It really is handled in that moment and with that circumstance. So, there's a lot of different things that happen, there's a lot of different things that go into it. So, I've never had any animosity towards, 'Oh, we should have a party, he should've canceled something for a week because now I'm gone.' What is the right way? You just get fired, thank you very much, and you move on. I really think that's how we have to handle it, or we could go sit in our rooms for a few weeks and mope and feel sorry for ourselves. It's not the way life is, really. We're called to handle difficult situations as well as glorious situations. That's the way life is."

On if he's had contact with his former players:"No. We're not allowed to, really, so no. Right after I got fired, I got some texts and communicated with a few players, but they have to have their allegiance to their head football coach and their staff, and I with mine."

On how far QB Joe Flacco can go with his new receiving corps:"I think he's tremendous. I think the group, the room that we've got, even with John Beck here, it was great. They've got a strong desire to be good. You love it as a coach when they want to be coached, and they want to be coached hard, so that part has been positive. I think what's been tremendous is [Flacco] really has some real natural talent that I don't want to screw up, so I kind of stay away from some… What I'm trying to do is bring out some of that natural talent and make sure I don't mess that up, and then help him with some of the things that, as a young QB, he can handle. And as we grow together, I think he's going to continue to do great things and maybe even better things as we move along here."

On what QB Marc Bulger has brought to the team:"Well, I look at him as kind of a salty QB. He really has had a tremendous experience. What's been great about him is he hasn't clamed up with that experience; he's really brought it out. He feels free, and I hope our room brings that out free to discuss, free to bring his expertise, some of the experiences that he's had. We're running similar offenses. He's done things… Some of the things he's done are exactly the same way we do them, and some of the things he's done, they've done things differently. On the differences, he brings out what they've done. Now, it's my job to get him to do things the way we do them and then also make suggestions, help him with his thoughts – to get them across to Cam, to give different thought to a few things, because he's got a very deep mind of a lot of this offense, and he knows how to execute a lot of these plays with tremendous rhythm and tremendous anticipation. That's what I'm hoping to continue in him, and then bring out in Joe."

On if he'd like to be a head coach in the future:"Yes. I don't know. That circumstance is either going to be there or it's not. Again, I'm not in any hurry. But if the opportunity arises, I'd like to have the opportunity. I really enjoyed it, yet if I have the opportunity to be here for however long, 10 years in the capacity that I'm in right now, that's what God has for me, I'm willing. I'm willing."

On if it's strange to go against a team that is still paying him:"No, it's really not. It really isn't because it's kind of the way the business is run a little bit, and there's a little protection there for coaches. That's just kind of the way it is."

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