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Press Conference Transcript - Training Camp Practice 8/9


Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: "OK, good practice, a lot of heat, obviously. I had them in shells today, which is where we're at right now, what we needed to do. We've had a lot of good work in pads, and it was a good practice."

On what he would like to see against the Panthers: "I think execution is the main thing. I think we'd like our guys to be sharp, be on target, whether it's blocking people [when] throwing the ball, on target with our pressures, on target on defense with our assignments. That's probably the No. 1 thing. We like to see our guys play hard, we like to see them be physical, we want them to play the way we want to play and start to establish that right off the bat if we can."

On if the preseason game being nationally televised shows that there is interest in the Ravens:"I don't know. You're a media guy; you probably know how that works. I didn't even know it was an ESPN game, really, until I saw the [Adam Schefter ESPN bus] pull up. It's really not on our minds, but it's great; I think it's great. It's great for our fans, it's great for our players, and it's exciting. So, it'll be good for us."

On if he decided how much the starters will play on Thursday:"We'll have that meeting tonight. We have a good idea. We've got the parameters for it, and then we'll do it specifically player by player tonight and tomorrow and work it all out. But, it'll be standard to what you see in the preseason – the starters will play no more than a quarter, and just kind of work it from there."

On if DT Haloti Ngata had a minor injury at practice:"Just a little back spasm. I think he caught a helmet or something in his back. He should be fine."

On what he's seen from Ngata in the offseason:"Well, I think he's better than he's ever been before. I don't think the peck [injury] has really showed up at all, as far as being an issue. He gets better every session that we have him – every training camp, every minicamp. [It] seems like he gets better and better, so he's going to have a great year."

On if Ngata is getting stronger each year"Oh yeah, he is. He works hard, he's physically better than he was, but his technique gets better. He understands the game more. He's going to be a great player."

On what WR Anquan Boldin brings to the team:"Well, so far in this camp he's brought us a lot of first downs, so we like that. But the intangibles… He's a hard worker, he's a positive guy, he's really pushing the envelope with our guys as far as teaching them the game along with our coaches. I think that's been a big help. So, it's good to have that veteran presence along with Derrick [Mason], so he's done a great job."

On if Boldin is flexible on the field:"Oh yeah, he can play anywhere. He can play quarterback – high school, right? So, he can do it all. But yeah, he'll play all the positions at wide receiver."

On if he will change the number of reps the starters play during preseason games:"Well, no, that's the parameter. So, there'll be guys, there will be starters that will play more, that need it more, and there will be starters that will play less, that we feel like need it less. So, it'll all be based on individual basis as far as who takes how many reps."

On how he is working to prevent injuries:"The biggest thing we have to do is get to the game with as many guys as we can. I think one of those teams had 14 or 15 guys out going into the game, so that's tough. We'll have a few guys that we'll hold out, just as a precautionary measure that we just don't want to push through the game. Guys that will normally play in the regular season will not play in this game, I'm sure. Guys that we think have a little bit of something here or there, we'll get out pretty quick. If something happens to a guy, he's going to come out. And then you basically hold your breath and you pray as far as the big injury, because there's nothing you can do about that. So hopefully, we'll get through it. We get after the game if we can say we got through it injury-free. That's really a victory also, so hopefully we can do that."

On if he can tell that T Oniel Cousins has missed some time: "Yeah, you can at times, but at times he looks like he hasn't missed at all. To me, he's further along than I thought he would be, but he's got a ways to go. But, there's a lot of camp left. We've got plenty of camp left, and he shouldn't have a problem."

Of if he is excited to see the newcomers play against someone else: "Yes, [I'm] looking forward to seeing it all. You don't really know until you play somebody else. We go against our guys, and we have great battles back and forth here. You guys see it. One day the offense jumps out, the next day the defense jumps out. I'm sure Carolina will have its moments, too, in this game, but it's going to be interesting to see how guys step up in that situation and how they work together."

On the evaluation process if a player doesn't perform as well in a game as practice: "You're disappointed, but that's why we have more than one preseason game, because a lot of times that'll happen. A guy will struggle that first time out because maybe it's a little bit bigger than he thought it was going to be. Then, all of a sudden, he kind of puts it together, and by the end of the four preseason games you've got yourself a player. Usually, what you see at practice carries over to the game at some point in time in preseason."

On if he has seen QB Joe Flacco benefit from backup QB Marc Bulger: "The thing that Marc brings to the table, besides the fact that he's got a lot of experience… He's been in this offense, so Marc has executed this offense at a high level for a number of years. So, Joe being able to see that, I think a picture's worth a thousand words, they say, and that's probably true of this."

On if the preseason games carry more weight for the kickers: "I don't think it'll be everything, but we see them kick them in games, and that's an environment, obviously, that matters. So, it probably has a little more weight."

On if the kickers need to work on the pooch kick: "That didn't look too good today. Yes, we need some practice on that."

On if T Jared Gaither's status is still in limbo: "Nothing new, it's still in limbo. I think we know what it is, and it's just a matter of working out the spasms and getting him out here. From what I've been told, it's not serious, we don't think. There's one more thing they're going to do to make sure it's not serious, but [Gaither has] just got to work through the spasms and get him out here so he can practice."

On how they divide up the kicking opportunities in preseason games: "We'll have a plan. I'm not sure. We haven't talked about it specifically, but my guess is we'll have a first-half and a second-half plan and just alternate throughout the preseason."

On having the fifth-oldest roster and what constitutes "old" in the NFL: "I think it's a plus for us because of the way we're set up. We've got some old guys that I would say that are kind of the pillars of the team. You've got the Ed Reeds and the Todd Heaps and the Ray Lewises… Maybe that bumps your numbers up a little bit. Derrick Mason… I'm sure I'm forgetting somebody, but those guys are all great players. Matt Birk… Those guys are great players, and those guys, the young guys can learn from. And then, under them, you've got a bunch of young guys that are also very good players that have a chance to learn underneath those guys. So, to me, it's a little bit the ideal mix right now, and hopefully we can take advantage of that."

WR Anquan Boldin

On the preseason schedule beginning Thursday: "As a veteran, you just want to get it over with. (laughter) It's preseason. We're probably going to be in there about two series, three series at the most. You just want to get out there, kind of get used to the football speed of things, and just make it out safely."

On if there is any excitement to make his Baltimore debut: "No, I'll leave that for when we get to New York. Like I said, we just want to see where we're at as an offense with the first unit – get out, move around, hit another team. But like I said, we just want to get out there, execute and make it out safely."

On if his style has changed from finesse to physicality: "It hasn't changed one bit for me. I play the game the exact same way – from my first game in Detroit to now – and I don't think it'll ever change. I think if I change the way that I play, then I wouldn't be me. The way I approach the game… I'm going to come out, I'm going to be physical, and that's the only way I know how to play."

On his comfort level with QB Joe Flacco: "I think we're real comfortable. We come out here every day. We talk about certain things. I tell him what I like, what I want to see him do. He tells me the same thing. On different routes, he wants to see me do this or just be a little bit more patient on certain routes. The line of communication is there, so I think we're good. Like I said, every day we're going to come out here and continue to try to get better, and hopefully, the sky's the limit for us."

On what happened on his long touchdown reception during practice: "We had a 7-pump on and Joe [Flacco] just put it up, let me make a play on it."

On who he respects the most amongst his peers in the NFL: "I respect anybody who plays this game, because everybody can't do it. There's a reason why we're playing at this level. The amount of work that guys put in… There's no way you can disrespect anybody that puts on a uniform."

QB Joe Flacco

On how he handles the intensity of starting a preseason game and then being taken out of the game:"It's easy when you start off. I think it's a little bit tough when you're out there warming up, and you're trying to get into the game, and then you have to go sit on the side for two quarters and [then] get in. My job is easy. I just treat it like a normal game, and then all of a sudden I'm getting pulled, and you relax the rest of the game. So, from that standpoint it's pretty easy when you're one of the guys that are out there first."

On whether it's going to be hard to show a lot in the short amount of time he's been working with new WRs Anquan Boldin and Donte' Stallworth:"Yeah, probably. We're going to go out there, we're going to run some plays and whatever happens, happens. Whoever catches the ball catches the ball. Who knows if… You know, Anquan's not going to have three catches, Donte' have three catches, Derrick [Mason] have three catches, Mark [Clayton] have three catches; it's not going to all be even, and whatever happens, happens. We just hope that we go down and put a touchdown on the board."

On whether he can compare and contrast WRs Demetrius Williams and Mark Clayton and their "battle" for the fourth WR position:"I don't know. I think they're both playing pretty well, and I don't know what they're battling for. I think they're just out there playing well, and we'll see what happens when we get into the season. I would assume we're going to have both of those guys; they're playing great. And I think they're a little bit different. Demetrius is a little bit of a bigger guy, Mark is a little bit smaller, [but] they both run well, they both run good routes and they're both catching the ball great right now. So, I can't really compare them, and I don't know if they're battling for a fourth position or not."

On how he and WR Anquan Boldin mesh and what Boldin has added to his game:"Anquan is a guy that can just… You can put the ball anywhere around him, and he's going to come to it strong and go get it for you, and you know he's going to come down with the ball. I figured that out in a short period of time, and he's just a bright guy. He knows football. So, when he goes out there and takes the field, he understands what we're trying to accomplish each play, and he's really helped out the rest of our guys."

On how QB Marc Bulger has helped:"Marc's been here, and he's been going through practices, and obviously, he brings a little bit of perspective, like how he's run plays in the past. But other than that, I think we're just out here having a good time and just trying to have fun with each other and get through training camp."

On whether it's at the point where they're just waiting to face another team:"Yeah, it feels like we've been here forever, but it's going to be exciting to get out there on Thursday night and finally line up against somebody else. Like I said, it's going to be fun. We're going to treat it that way – go out there and have fun and get up for the game. We want to go out there and be successful on offense and go down and put a touchdown on the board."

On the additions to the tight end position: "We've got some athletic guys out there: Todd [Heap], Dennis [Pitta], Ed [Dickson]. They're all doing a great job. They bring a lot to the table. They're good athletes that can really catch the ball and run routes. So, they're going to open up a lot of things for us this year, and it should just be exciting to see their progression and them getting better each game."

On the difference between this year's training camp and the previous ones he's been a part of and whether he knows the players better now:"I think I knew everybody last year, too. I think it's just the confidence level. It's our third year. It's me and Ray [Rice's] – it's both of our third years – and we're just more and more confident. We know each other better, and I'm more confident with everybody in the huddle and just understand all of our players better. So, it's easy to get in the huddle and get out there, and you know which guys are going to have questions on certain plays, and it's just easy to answer them right away. But I think everybody is just getting more and more used to playing with each other, and it'll show out on the field."

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