RAVENS DAY 1 MINICAMP: PODIUM TRANSCRIPTS
Head Coach John Harbaugh, QB Joe Flacco, DE Bronson Kaufusi, RB Danny Woodhead & G/C John Urschel
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "Thank you for being here. We appreciate it. I just want to first say our hearts go out to Sgt. Eric Houck's family – to his wife and his little boy and his little girl. Sgt. Houck lost his life in Afghanistan, and we want to honor that memory and the sacrifice that was made and what he and so many others have given up to protect us and to keep us safe. Sgt. Houck, in Baltimore, that is where our hearts are right now – prayers to the family. As far as the football part of it, we had a good day, a good start. I am proud of our guys. We are practicing well and hard and fast and pretty smart. I like where we are at."
How excited are you about the addition of WR Jeremy Maclin, and what will that mean for the offense? (Jerry Coleman) "I am very excited about adding Jeremy. He is a very good football player and an even better person. He decided to come to Baltimore. I just want to give credit to Ozzie [Newsome]. Ozzie was the key to this whole thing – spearheading it. I'm sure it was a very tough negotiation, and Ozzie did a great job of getting that done for us. We appreciate it. Also, the people that recruited him … The players did a great job at the basketball game party that they had, and then, Marty Mornhinweg has had a lot of history with Jeremy in Philadelphia. I think that made a big difference. Then, Bobby Engram spent the most time with Jeremy. Bobby did a great job answering all the questions and then just called upon his recruiting days from college and was really instrumental in the whole deal."
When it came down to WR Jeremy Maclin's decision, do you think that it came down to the fact that he had the best chance to win here was the overriding thing? (Jerry Coleman)"That is a great question. He will be here tomorrow, and you will get a chance to ask him that. I am not exactly sure. I know his wife has some history here, and they have some family ties to Baltimore; that probably had a lot to do with it. I heard he likes crab cakes, so that didn't hurt. (laughter) We will see."
Another newcomer is RB Danny Woodhead. What does he bring to this offense? You lost a good one, but you get another good one. (Dave Ginsburg)"Danny, that was somebody that we targeted pretty early in free agency there and obviously signed him right out of the gate. Your point is exactly right; he is a specific kind of player for us. He is a very versatile running back. He can carry the ball, but he is also a big part of the passing game – both in protection, because he is good in protection, but really the route running and getting open and doing the things that will help Joe [Flacco] and give Joe a great matchup against linebackers and even against safeties in critical situations to help us move the chains."
How encouraging is it to see TE Benjamin Watson out here?* (Ed Lee)"It is very encouraging. It is kind of the target that [vice president and head certified athletic trainer] Mark Smith had for Ben, to get him out here in minicamp and get him in individual [drills]. He didn't do any team stuff, but he was in individual [drills]. I didn't watch the tight ends in individual, so I guess I would have to ask you, 'How did he look?' I will see the tape later. Did he look pretty good?" *(Reporter: "He made a one-handed catch over there.") "One-handed grab! That is Ben Watson. Thank you. But yes, you are right – very happy to have him back."
Even with the addition of WR Jeremy Maclin, is there any possibility of adding another receiver like Eric Decker? (Jamison Hensley)"I don't know. For me to comment on that … Ozzie is working really hard on that stuff right now. That is something that remains to be seen. But, we are always [ready] for good players. We always want to add competition, but there are a lot of factors that go into that."
Watching the rookies join in with vets, do they look like they fit in or belong there just like you had hoped? (Pete Gilbert)"Yes. Like you say, it is a step along the way. It is part of the process. But, it is an important step, because you cannot get where you want to go – ultimately to the preseason games, as far as training camp goes – unless you go through these steps and these stages. Our guys are practicing fast. You can see assignments; you can see technique. You can certainly see execution, especially in the passing game. That is important, but we have a long way to go."
Is LB C.J. Mosley on track to be ready for the start of the camp?* (Luke Jones)*"He is on track to be ready. From what I am told, he will be out there the first day of training camp."
Is there anything new with WR/RS Michael Campanaro? (Jerry Coleman)"I think he is on schedule. He was not going to be back for the minicamp. He is supposed to be ready well before training camp to be full speed. He will get a chance to condition and get himself ready to go."
I know WR Jeremy Maclin hasn't practiced yet. What kind of impact do you think a receiver of his caliber can bring to this team? (Jamison Hensley)"He can have a big impact. He is a proven player; he knows how to play. He knows how to be effective in this specific passing game, which is a big plus. I expect him to be a great player."
When you are making these plans for practice, how much does the heat factor in with the timing of it and everything? (Jeff Zrebiec)"There are two things there. We have traditionally done minicamp with a later practice. Two things called into that decision: I kind of made it last minute, as you guys know. Everybody got the message?" *(laughter) (Reporter: "The 9 a.m. was definitely a nod to the temperature?") *"It was a nod to the temperature, and there was another factor. I just feel like we have had these guys here [a lot]. So many guys have been here through so many of these OTA practices and meetings that we did not really need the install time. I felt like our guys would be ready to get up and running early, so we decided to run it like we did training camp. The heat is a big part of it, probably the main thing. Also the fact that guys like to get out in these kind of practices and get the practice behind them and then get to work on the mental stuff, so they do not have it to think about it the whole day. It gives us a chance to have a better practice in a camp-type setting."
We have not asked about TE Crockett Gillmore. Is he OK?* (Jamison Hensley)*"Crockett tweaked his hamstring. I think some of you guys speculated on that, and that was right. I do not think it is real serious, as far as I know. He should be ready for training camp, easily."
We noticed that TE Darren Waller also walked off. How is he? (Ed Lee) "Yes, just heat. That was the first time he has done everything. He has been with the trainers. A little bit of it was conditioning, but to jump out there in this heat – and he is thinking and he is moving fast – it got to him a little bit. But, he will be fine."
QB Joe Flacco
On his reaction to the addition of WR Jeremy Maclin:"I'm excited about it. I think anytime you can add a good player, it helps your team. I think we have a lot of guys out there competing, and putting him in that room will just up that ante a little bit."
On if he had a chance to interact with WR Jeremy Maclin: "He wasn't here for a terribly long period of time, but I did see him. I made sure I texted him when he was up in Buffalo to come on down here and see what Baltimore is like. But I've run into Jeremy before in South Jersey when he was playing for Philly. He's a great kid, and I think he's going to like it around here."
On what his pitch was: "I don't try to pitch people, to be honest with you. I think at the end of the day, they're going to do what's best for them – his family, his wife, who he felt most comfortable with. All I can do is when I meet him, just try to make it as normal as possible and not put any pressure on someone to make a decision. I know I wouldn't like that if someone was trying to pressure me to do something. I don't love getting recruited. I want to be able to be left alone and make a decision. I really don't know what goes into those decisions. That's in his head, and I want to respect that. That's kind of my method, and hopefully we'll have some other guys that do their other method and we can get him – which we did."
On what he feels his weapons on offense are and if they are enough: "I stand by what I said. If you've been out here, you can definitely see that guys are playing well. They're playing really fast, playing confident, and that's all you can ask for. When we can come out here and do it and rep it each day with the guys that are going to be out here playing, you're going to do nothing but get better and better. Like I said earlier, everyone is working really hard, and we have a lot of guys that can play and be explosive. I think you can see that. I think you can see that today and throughout the offseason. I've been able to see it standing back. When you have the time back there to go through your reads and do things, those guys are breaking up and breaking open from defenders and getting downfield. It's some exciting stuff."
On the possible addition of free agent WR Eric Decker: "Eric would be a great guy, too – especially losing Dennis Pitta and getting a guy who can go inside, go outside and can run and separate, and do a lot of those things. I think Marty Mornhinweg was probably with him up in New York when he was there. He's been a great receiver, and he's played with some good quarterbacks. I'm sure he's been coached up. I've seen what he can do, and anytime you add players like that, it's going to be good for your team."
On RB Danny Woodhead: "Really, ever since we lost Ray Rice, we haven't had a type of back that's quite like how Ray was and quite like how Danny is in the passing game. They just have a very good feel for when they're open and how to get open, how to sit in holes, how to find my eyes, and you can already see that. You can see he has a freely good feel for those kinds of things. If you remember back, obviously, Ray was really good at doing that, and that gives a lot to your offense for sure."
On how his connection with WR Breshad Perriman improved in the past year: "A year ago, I wasn't throwing to him at all at this point, because I wasn't out here yet, and I don't think he was out here. He's playing ... You can just see the confidence in his eyes. That's the first thing. Then when you go out there, it's kind of back to how I felt probably the first couple of practices his rookie year, when he was running by people, and you can tell he had something. He's back at that level, running, and his confidence is at an all-time high. He's out there playing, man. It's exciting to see."
On if he couldn't practice with his brace: "No, I didn't practice with it last year after a certain point. I'm definitely playing with it."
DE Bronson Kaufusi
On what it has been like to get back on the field after being injured all last season:"Man, it's been great. Being able to take that season and learn from guys like Timmy Jernigan and Lawrence Guy, and now being able to get to the point where I can get out there and do it, it's just been awesome."
On how frustrating it was for him to have to sit out last season:"Injuries are always frustrating, but you also have to look for the silver lining in it. So, for me, it was a chance to learn, grow and take everything in that I could so I could be ready for this upcoming year."
On what some of the takeaways were from that experience:"I took it as a way to learn from those veterans and just to see how they work, how they study the film, how they take care of their bodies, how they practice. All of those things, I was picking up on and taking mental notes so I could use it as I move forward."
On his opportunity now after some defensive linemen left the team this offseason during free agency:"I cannot wait to get out there; I can't tell you. It's that constant fire in me that's burning always. I want to be out there, I want to help out, and I want to make a difference. So for me, coming out here, it's a blessing to be out here in OTAs and being able to rehab all the way back through with the training staff, with Steve [Saunders] our [director of performance], all of those things. I just love it. I love this game; I love everything about it, being with my teammates, all of that. Day by day I just hope I continue to grow and get better."
On his expectations for the upcoming season:"For me, I want to make a difference. No matter where it is on the field, I want to get out there and make plays for our team, for our defense and just contribute."
On if he was at all hesitant about testing his injury when he returned to the field:"I feel like there's always a little bit of hesitancy no matter what, but when you get out there, I know I put the work in from the surgery through the rehab. I really have a lot of trust in [vice president and head certified athletic trainer] Mark Smith and all that he's done, and his staff, with me. So, being able to put the hand on the ball and go out and make it happen has really helped my mindset."
On if he feels like there is a pretty good competition for the five-technique role on the defensive line:"Oh yeah. They [Brent Urban and Chris Wormley] are great players. Brent, he's been here and he's phenomenal. Wormley is a great player, and I think all of us together, we're just going to rise, continue to rise and really improve."
G/C John Urschel
On his assessment of the offensive line as minicamp begins: "Certainly young, but full of potential. We have a lot of young talented guys. Alex Lewis has been doing a great job, Ronnie Stanley has been doing a great job, and some guys that you don't really talk about so much have really been doing a lot of things and making a lot of strides. Matt Skura is someone who has a lot of potential and someone who has been playing really well for us this OTA."
On what he needs to do to distinguish himself from the others: "I think it's just a matter of … If you're at center, you need to run the offensive line – being vocal, being consistent and being dependable. These are the important characteristics of a center."
On if there is a spot on the offensive line that he feels most comfortable playing: "No. I'll play whatever position coach wants me to play. I've played both guards. I've played center. I'm comfortable wherever they need to put me."
On if his four-year experience and knowledge gives him an edge: "I guess it is a long time, by NFL standards. (laughter) It helps. I've been around the block, seen a lot of things. So, if I see something on the defense, and maybe we haven't talked about it in the meeting room, I have experience and instincts on what to do. I think if I'm very much on my own and need to make a quick decision, I can make the right one. So that helps, just having experience."
On if he prefers getting more reps in practice since rotating with G/C Ryan Jensen:"I think the competition brings out the best in all of us. That's something I leave to the coaches – Coach Harbaugh and Coach Joe [D'Alessandris, offensive line]. The competition I have between myself, Ryan and Matt Skura is good for all three of us."
On if he felt the need to gain weight this season: "Yes. That's something I've talked about with the coaches – looking at every player and deciding what the ideal weight is for them. It's unique to each person, and I'm feeling pretty good where I'm at, but I think between now and camp I could put on a pound or two."
On if he was ever able to explain to Houston DE J.J. Watt how Bose headphones work in their commercial: "I think he got it down pretty well by the end because … It's actually not as complicated as you would think. I swear to you, it's straightforward and very interesting. If I had a whiteboard, I could show you." (laughter)
On what offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris has brought to the offensive line in tandem with senior offensive assistant/tight ends coach Greg Roman: "Greg has a great history both running the ball in Buffalo and San Francisco, so we are lucky to have him. Joe is a coach that has been around. He has a ton of experience, and we're thankful to have these experienced coaches who try to bring something to the Ravens."
On if the running schemes have changed: "The schemes are the schemes. It's one of those things where everyone in the NFL does the same stuff. It's the matter of how we're going to do the little things that separate us from all the other teams. More or less, every team has every type of run play in their playbook; they could call it if they need to."
On how important starting experience has been for himself and T James Hurst: "It's good. I've started a fair amount of NFL games. I've been a backup, active on gameday and thrown into games. It's an interesting feeling. Every year I'm a little bit older and a little bit more experienced. I think that serves me well, and Hurst."
On if he likes a certain quarterback style: "Whatever they want to do; however they want to call the offense. [I] just try and help the team."
RB Danny Woodhead
On if being in Baltimore is weird given the history between his former team, the New England Patriots, and the Ravens:"I think maybe a little bit the first few days. We had some good games and good games late in the year. So yes, it was a little bit different. But, being here almost a couple months now, I feel right at home. I really do. I think that is a testament to the organization and the guys we have in the locker room and the people throughout the building."
On if he felt slighted by the media talk that QB Joe Flacco does not have enough weapons:"I mean, when haven't people said I am not very good? I am not worried about that. I didn't take it as a slight. To be real honest, I cannot say I paid a lot of attention to it, so you are kind of letting me know. But, it doesn't hurt my feelings. It has never hurt my feelings. It is not about one guy anyways. If I am brought in, I should not feel slighted. I think what we need to focus on is just getting better as a team, because really, it does not matter what everyone says. If people are going to say that we are a bad football team, then I do not think we care. We are not worried about that. What we are worried about is going in, putting in the work, day-in and day-out. We will see what the product on the field is, and I think we are confident that we have some really good players."
On what it takes to be a really good receiver as a running back:"I don't know. You have to obviously understand concepts. [You have to understand] the route concepts and not just your route. I think you have to have a feel, and I think you have to have some sort of chemistry with a quarterback. Everywhere I have been, that has been really important to get on the same page, whether we are running routes and I'm like, 'Hey Joe [Flacco], you like this? If you don't, let me know, because I will change it.' The most important thing is to do what he [Flacco] wants, because if I am going to get the ball or a receiver is going to get the ball, it is because we are doing it correctly how he sees it. That is just repetition, and that is getting on the same page. At the end of the day, that is what you want to do. You want to be on the same page, whether it is linemen, backs, receivers, because in order to have a successful play, you need 11 guys on the same page."
On his thoughts on the addition of WR Jeremy Maclin:"I'm not a scout or a coach, but I think he is a pretty decent football player. Anytime that talent is added, I think it is a good thing, because it is going to help our team. Obviously, we trust the front office and coaches and everyone that we are the players and we are going to do everything that we can do. We trust them to bring in guys like Jeremy. I think everyone is excited, and it is just going to be important for us as a team to gel together and obviously him, too."
On what it feels like to come to the Ravens the season after tearing his ACL and if he looks at is as a fresh start:"It is definitely a fresh start with a new team. As far as the ACL, I have not really thought about it. I am out there trying to compete and trying to win. If I have a route called or if I am supposed to pass protect, I am going out there to win. If I am thinking about the past, I do not think that helps me win. I have not really thought about that. Does it give you a fresh start on a new team? Yes, just because things are different. All organizations, no matter where you are, they are going to be a little bit different. This is a different than San Diego, a little different than New England, [different] than New York [Jets] – my first team. Everywhere is a fresh start, because it is new coaches, new people, new teammates. That is always good, but I am just excited about the guys that I am playing with and working with and the staff. I think we have an opportunity to have a good team."
On his chemistry with QB Joe Flacco:"We have been here a couple months now, so we have been able to be on the field a little bit. I am pleased. I am definitely happy. Sometimes it can take a while. Sometimes it works through OTAs, it works through minicamp, it goes to training camp. But, I really feel that it really only took us a couple days. That is a positive. It was a lot faster than I expected, so I'm pleased with that, but there is a lot more that we have to do. In order to be great, we have to keep progressing. That is what we want to do – we want to be great; we want to be the best. It is just day-in and day-out, that is what we come to work for. [We come to work] to get ready for that 16-game season and hopefully more."