Stories: Calm Through the Storm | Day 2 Draft Picks | Rice, Flacco Wrap Day 1 | Flacco Feeling Fine | Ravens Get Their ManTranscripts: Flacco Introductory Presser | Ravens Day 2 A.M. Presser | Flacco Conference CallBlogs: The Big Board | The Byrne Identity | Insight to the Limelight GENERAL MANAGER OZZIE NEWSOME & DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING ERIC DECOSTA
Ozzie Newsome opening statement:"This is our recap. As you know, the fun still goes on for us because we're upstairs right now dealing with the undrafted college free agents and the success that we've had in the past on signing guys to make our football team, just like Edgar Jones [from 2007], and the list goes on and on after that. I think it was two very good days for us bringing an influx of talent to our football team. Starting with the trade with Jacksonville, that gave us all of the flexibility that we needed to pick players when we wanted to pick them based on our board. We got the quarterback. [We] got a running back, because we've suffered for years around here when our No. 1 running back got hurt and it really made for a stressful year, so we got Ray Rice. To be able to add some depth with [Tom] Zbikowski and [Tavares] Gooden, guys that could be starters in their careers, [was important]. Then we went to the offensive line. That's another position you need to take some guys every year because you have to develop your offensive linemen, and we took [Oniel] Cousins. Receiver, we need some size at receiver so we took Marcus [Smith]. As we talk about these next four guys, not only are they good on one side of the ball, but they all are very good special teams players. Marcus, [Haruki] Nakamura from Cincinnati, Justin Harper – you know that our size at receiver with Mark [Clayton], Derek [Mason], Demetrius [Williams] and Yamon [Figurs] – we needed to add a big receiver to the group, and that's what we did with Harper. And then getting Allen Patrick, he's another running back who could help us in the special teams game. You've got to add Fabian Washington, a guy who was a former No. 1 pick, who's a true cover corner and the [2007 supplemental pick] Jared Gaither. So when you add all of that, it's been a very productive day. I think everybody is very excited. I think we'll add probably a couple of more guys that will have a good chance of making our team with the undrafted college free agents. So it's been a good weekend for the Ravens, and now it's all about getting them on the field, getting them developed and getting them ready to play."
Eric DeCosta opening statement:* *"I agree. You know the draft is kind of like a chess game and we try to play it as smart as we can. You have to develop your position, and I think we did that. We picked and I'm excited. I can say that all of our players came from our top 120, which is exciting. We tried to get big, fast, smart and tough, and I think we accomplished that. It was a great weekend for the scouts and coaches. They worked very well together. We're excited about that for the future. When the scouts get to pick they get excited, and when the coaches get players to coach that they like, they get excited. So, it's a win-win. Hopefully, next year at this time we can look back on this draft and feel real good about it, and I think we will."
On if there was an area left a little undermanned: (NEWSOME) "Yeah. There was one area. In fact, there was one player we had on the phone at a position – I'm not going to tell you the position, because we're working on trying to sign some people now – and we had the kid on the phone, we had the next pick, and a team called. I asked the kid not to answer the phone, but he did anyway. The other team picked the kid right before us. I'm not going to tell you the position, but there was one kid at that position that we felt could add a lot to our football team."
On if they'll see immediate dividends or success down the road: (DECOSTA)"You never know. I think you will see immediate dividends in terms of special teams probably from Day One. Looking at our special teams last year, we felt like, I feel like personally, I did a poor job of really bringing in some guys to help us. We changed that this year. We have a new special teams coach, we have a lot of enthusiasm for special teams this year. I think you'll see immediate dividends in that regard. I think at receiver we brought in some physical guys that are different from some of the guys that we have. They should compete really well to get some playing time. I think at safety we drafted two outstanding, smart, productive, tough safeties with a knack for making big plays. [They are] very similar to our two starting safeties from the standpoint of instincts, making plays, interceptions, fumble recoveries, special teams impact. I think it's a lot of different, interesting guys. We have a great influx of guys who can help us Day One, and also some developmental guys who can help us three or four years from now. I'm excited about that mix."
On the depth at tight end, due to the injury to Quinn Sypniewski: (NEWSOME)"We, at this point, still do not know the extent of Quinn's injury. But, just to be honest with you, that position that the guy got picked was at that position. But, right now, there are two guys that we liked and thought about drafting late, that we're really pursuing right now, to answer that question. And then there are some veteran free agents out there too that we could take a look at, also. So, there are some other areas once we find out the full extent of Quinn's injury."
On Jonathan Ogden's decision to play or retire: (NEWSOME)"I've heard nothing from J.O. Hopefully, he had a good round of golf today. Hopefully, he shot under 80 again. Right now, if J.O. decides he wants to comeback, that's his option. If he decides he wants to retire, which he could do and walk away from the game, and five years from now I'll be down at Canton waiting for him to get inducted, he could do that too. But that's J.O.'s decision and that has not impacted our whole offseason."
On what it was like to have the new set of coaches' eyes: (NEWSOME)"First, it was good to have a new set of eyes on our own football team. Guys to come in and evaluate our football team – and in some areas they felt the same way that we did, and in some other areas, there were some differences – we were able to talk about the differences. But, in the draft, when you come away with three coaches that were in college last year, [offensive assistant] Craig [Ver Steeg], [secondary coach Chuck] Pagano and [linebackers coach Greg] Mattison – they have a first-hand feel for a lot of football based on the conferences that they played in. Then you have guys like Cam Cameron and Hue Jackson that have history with working out quarterbacks that goes back 10 years. So, that's been great. [Offensive line coach] John Matsko – a guy I've known; he coached Anthony Munoz at USC – having guys that have the history that they have and the experience that they have, having them in the room to match with the way we do things, I think it made for a lot of fun. It was helpful. It was very, very helpful."
On how he feels about where the roster is right now: (NEWSOME)"I feel a lot better than I did on Friday. We started with eight picks, I guess, and we ended up with 10 plus one in the trade, so we got 11 players. I feel much better. We addressed some needs. Like Eric said, we got bigger, we got tougher, we got faster and we got smarter. So, I feel a lot better today. I think John [Harbaugh] feels a lot better today. One of the small advantages of changing a coaching staff is to have that mini-camp before the draft, where you get a chance to look at your football team and then you can realize some needs that you have before you go into the draft and you can attack them."
On if he thinks Fabian Washington could push for a starting job and if he's concerned about his recent domestic battery charge: (NEWSOME)**"The first question, hopefully he will come in and compete. I think that's what makes our team as good as it is, that guys can be very competitive. In our division, they throw three receivers out there on the field in a hurry. As far as the domestic charge, I spoke with [Fabian] today about that, and based on the information that we have at this point and what he's undergoing, I don't think at this point, I don't think there can be any league discipline. But, that's not for me to say. That's for the league to make that determination."
On when he will start preparing for the 2009 NFL Draft: (DECOSTA)*"Oh man *(laughing). If my wife were here, I'd have to probably lie about that… We'll take some time, a few weeks, to just kind of unwind. Then right around the 15th of May, we'll get started up with spring scouting. I've always thought it was one of the hidden secrets of our success in that we have to look at junior prospects, because we're independent of all the different scouting services out there. Our scouts actually have to do a lot of the legwork to get prepared for the fall instead of us receiving reports from a service. We'll start looking at tape. We'll do spring scouting. We'll have about a month to six weeks of that, where we're actually watching the players as juniors, writing the reports and creating our list of players. That'll be done between May 15 and July 1, and then we'll get ready for training camp."
On if it's unfair that Tavares Gooden might be compared to Ray Lewis because he plays the same position, attended the same school and wears the same number: (DECOSTA)"He's just a good football player. The guy's explosive. He's just a good player. When he plays well, people will draw their own conclusions once he gets here. I think he's coming into a great situation. He has a relationship with Ed [Reed]. He probably knows Ray [Lewis]… I'm sure he does – all those guys know each other. But he's just a good football player. He had a great year this year. We think he's got a lot of potential. He made huge strides from his junior year to his senior year, in terms of improving his play and really taking the next step in becoming an elite college linebacker. We love good, fast, aggressive linebackers in Baltimore. We know when we see one, and Ozzie and I both feel really good about him."