Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "It was a good practice. Obviously, it was a really good opportunity for us. We were having fun before practice, and [Joe Flacco] came out and spun it really well in a downpour, which is really good to see. It was good for our guys to have an opportunity to drop plenty of them, obviously, and catch plenty of them. It was the kind of work you really need, and it's a good opportunity that we got it."
John, some guys that didn't come, with it being mandatory, could you tell us about Ed Reed, Matt Birk and Bryant McKinnie? Are they excused? (Aaron Wilson) "Bryant McKinnie is a guy that we held out for just conditioning purposes, and we are going to probably continue to do that and try to continue to get him in good shape. Practice-wise, he is just as well doing the conditioning part of it. Matt Birk had a surgery last week on his legs. He has those veins. He had to get those cleaned up. We tried to get it done earlier. We could not get it done earlier [for] whatever doctors' reasons there were. He was not allowed to fly this week, so he wouldn't have been able to practice anyway. Ed, I have not communicated with Ed, so I am not sure what the situation is on that."
Is that a concern, with Ed not being here? (Jeff Zrebiec) "The CBA applies, and I haven't talked to him."
John, what is the biggest thing you want rookies to get this week that they maybe couldn't have gotten last week and the week before now that they are around the veteran guys? (Gerry Sandusky)"It's probably good for the rookies to see the thing operate a little more fully. We have had a lot of guys out here. A lot of vets have been out here. Bernard Pollard has been out here almost every day. But, it's good to start to try to work the cohesiveness in. That's the main thing you try to do with this opportunity. As far as being a mandatory camp, it gives us a chance to probably work some veterans in, build some cohesiveness, especially in the offensive line. That's an important part. You can get some work there. It's good to have everybody around. It's just practice. It's really not a lot different than it was a week ago or two weeks ago. It's not too much different than the OTAs. It's just another level of practice, of the process. It was fun. It was fun being out there. It was great work; everybody enjoyed it. We were out there laughing and getting soaked and playing ball. We've got a lot of guys that love football; we had fun out there. We got a lot of work done, and we had fun doing it."
John, I know you've been asked this a million times, but Ray Lewis enters the building, how much does that kind of raise the energy level with everyone, just having him around? (Jeff Zrebiec)"The rookies were excited to see Ray and Anquan [Boldin] and some of the guys. It's a big deal for those guys. It was exciting to have Bobbie Williams here. Welcome, Bobbie Williams, to us, too. It was neat to see him out there for the first time in purple instead of orange. We had fun with that, too. There is a lot of energy in the building, no doubt about it."
He jumped right in there at left guard, didn't he? Bobbie? (Glenn Younes)"He jumped right in there at left [guard]. He jumped right in there and looked going doing it. He is a veteran player, very physical guy. He has a great demeanor, great personality, so it's good to have him in there."
How good is it to have him on your side as opposed to being a Bengal? (Ryan Mink) "Yeah, Ray and I were joking about that. It's good to have him. Ray will have to see him every day in practice now, so maybe that's not so good. I think it helps us in the offensive line. I saw some things that people say it's a lack of confidence in the young guys. It's not. We are just building an offensive line. We'll have competition. Those young guys are going to be in there competing. The best guys are going to play. It's nice to have another veteran guy in the mix. It makes us stronger. We'll see how it shakes out as we go."
And the other guy you signed today, Tony Wragge? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Tony Wragge started in St. Louis last year, was in camp with my brother in San Francisco. So, I kind of know a lot about him talking to [49ers head coach] Jim [Harbaugh]. [He is] really just a real tough, hard-nosed guy – our kind of a guy. He'll be in the mix to make our team and provide us with a little more veteran depth. I do feel like we have solidified the offensive line, depth-wise. It will be fun to watch those guys compete. We've got some really young, talented candidates, too, so we're in good shape there right now."
John, with Bobbie Williams, was he a guy that you guys had targeted a little bit earlier in the offseason, but wanted to see how he progressed from his fractured ankle last year? (Luke Jones) "Right. That's right. We did. We targeted him really right out of free agency. He is a guy that we knew about right away. We have always liked him. We had him highly ranked. He had a situation with a broken leg last year. We had to see how that developed. June 1 seemed to be a good target date. As soon as June 1 came around, we were able to work out the deal."
Is there any update on Terrell Suggs? (Ryan Mink) "The only update I would have is that the doctor said he was doing very well. He is progressing really well. I think he'll start to accelerate his rehab now since he saw Dr. [Robert] Anderson down in Charlotte. We'll take it from there."
How much of minicamp do you use for installing what you want to do? And how much of it do you use to kind of experiment and look at the tape and think about what you want to implement in training camp? (Gerry Sandusky)"You install, and you probably do [experiment]. Experiment might be a pretty good word. You are trying to find yourself as a team, what your guys do well, what they don't do well, what they do together. You start to get a feel for what direction you are going to go in all three phases, what you are going to be able to do really well. That process definitely carries on through training camp, but I would say we're in that process right now – figuring out who we are going to be, what we are going to be able to do well."
WR Anquan Boldin
On how it felt getting out there: "It felt good. We really got some football weather today. It was good to get back. For me, it is always good to get back in the locker room and be around the guys. I think we got a lot better today."
On liking practicing in the rain: "No. (laughing) But, it's one of those things where, unfortunately, you are going to have some games that are played in the rain, so I think it was good for us to get out there and run around a little bit in it."
On his impression of the wide receivers: "I think we've got a good group. I think we've got some guys that are real talented, and I think that the good thing for them this year is that they got a chance to get in early and learn the offense. Unfortunately, last year we were going through the lockout, and those guys didn't get the same opportunity. But the rookies have been here from the start of offseason workouts, and they got a chance to grasp the offense, and the guys are able to play right now as opposed to going out thinking about it."
On being the best group of wide receivers so far: "I would say yes. From an overall standpoint, I have to say yes."
On getting the rookies in early and them being as good as they are: "[They are] just guys that are talented, guys that are hungry. I think anytime that you have a bunch of guys that are competing for two, three jobs, you're going to bring out the best in them, and I think that's exactly what it's doing."
On continuity throughout the offense: "I think it will be big for us. Just whenever you have guys that play together for a while, guys that are on the same page, I think you can progress as an offense, and I think with those guys getting in early, I think they will be able to help us."
On his thoughts of the new Nike jerseys: "I feel heavy right now. I mean they are good, I guess. I don't really think about the jerseys when I'm out there; I'm just playing football."
On QB Joe Flacco being sharp: "I thought he looked real good, especially throwing in the rain. The ball is still pinpoint. He didn't have any problems. Most quarterbacks have problems gripping the ball, throwing different routes when they are in the rain, but if you just looked at him, you couldn't tell he was throwing in the rain."
On having Flacco here since Day One of camps: "I think it sets a precedent. He is a leader on this team, and whenever you have leaders like that, guys look up to him. Guys want to emulate what he is doing. He's had success in this league, and in order for them to have success, they have to see guys that have been successful, and I think that is the precedent he has shown."
On the offense taking a step forward: "I think so. Like I said, this is a little different than being on defense. You can have a guy … You can have 10 guys mess up and one guy make a play, and the entire defense can look good, but it is the just the opposite on offense. You can have 10 guys doing the right thing, and if one guy messes up, it makes the entire offense look shabby. So, whenever you have guys that have worked together, know each other's strengths and weaknesses, know how to play off of each other, don't really have to communicate verbally, but know what the other one is doing, I think it makes the offense that much better."
On what he works on to get better:"For me, I come in every year with something different to work on. I think you are never at a point in your career where you get satisfied with what you are doing, with where you're at. For me, like I said, I continue to work on things day-in and day-out. I look at a lot of film; I watch myself on film, and if there are things I don't like, a certain way I am coming out of a route or things like that, that's definitely something I take into account and work on during the offseason."
LB Ray Lewis
On what his workout routine has been this offseason: "A bunch of everything – mainly bike riding, just a bunch of swimming and just kind of refurbishing everything. And kind of going back, grabbing from here, grabbing from there, grabbing from here, grabbing from there, just putting a lot of different programs together."
On looking trim and whether he has lost weight: "I don't know. I keep that between me and me. (laughter) No, I think it becomes kind of easy when you go through the things that I went through in my regiment as far as training and then as far as eating and everything. So, it just naturally comes off, and as hard as you go with it, it's just going to naturally take care of itself, and that's pretty much, it's been the course for me. Just coming back and just saying, 'What's the next step? What's the next thought process for me? What do I want to do when I come back?' And now, anytime you come back in your 17th year, you kind of want to come back with a different mentality and different thinking. So, my mentality was, change with the game. There's no more true, true, true, physical, physical fullbacks that are going to come at me and sledgehammer all day. So, everything is about mismatches now. And everything is about speed and about running and trying to get smaller people on the field. So, just adjust to the game, and as you see guys get older in their careers, you see a lot of people don't do that. And that was my thing this year. It was like, 'All right, the game is changing like that. Everybody wants to go with all these little five-wides and all this different stuff.' Just change with the game, and that was kind of my thought process."
On whether that applies to covering New England TE Aaron Hernandez, as an example: "Yeah, which is just another receiver playing the tight end position. He's not your typical big tight end – you know, 6-5 – he's not that. And those are the things, I think, once you actually … If you've been in the game so long, you just learn to adjust to it."
On WR Derrick Mason retiring yesterday, and if at this point in his career he follows his football statistics or if he throws all that out and focuses on today:"Yeah, because I think you're talking about – for me and him – you're talking about two totally different issues. 'Mase' was probably one of the best receivers I've been around playing this game, but at the same time, 'Mase' had a couple of different homes. And that itself kind of drains you. Being here in Baltimore for now 17 years, it's a different energy, and it's a different energy, so you never really think about it, 'Oh, when's it going to come? I've [been] traded to this team, I've moved on to this team.' Because then, for a lot of guys, that's kind of a sign for them. If I'm trading teams here and there, OK, my window could be closing. For me, the relationship that me, Ozzie [Newsome] and Steve [Bisciotti] have, and the relationship I have with my body is, go as long as you want to go. And so, that thought process never really comes up. So whenever it happens, it happens, but it's definitely nothing I think about."
On his initial reaction to OLB Terrell Suggs' injury and the message he delivers to his defense knowing Suggs will be out for a while: "I don't think it's hard, because the first thing I told – I saw Steve [Bisciotti] and John [Harbaugh] – the first thing I said [is], 'Before any great blessing, you're going to go through a storm.' That's just life. Every team is going to go through it, whether you go through it sooner or later. You look at the Super Bowl champs last year, the [New York] Giants, all the damages came at the beginning of the year, but everybody got healthy at the end of the year. So, every team is going to go through that, and now we have an opportunity for a lot of young guys to step up; for a Paul Kruger to step up, for a young [Courtney] Upshaw to come in there and do his thing, for Sergio Kindle to come in and actually get some playing time. So, we have a good rotation to hold things down. If Suggs can make it back, hey, that's a bonus for us, because now you get a fresher Terrell Suggs. But if you can't get him back, then what do you do? And that's why I think it's kind of a blessing in disguise, because now we get a lot of young guys [who] get a lot of work in."
On his initial impression of OLB Courtney Upshaw:"I think I just love his motor. He's a kid that just loves football. And anytime you get a rookie that can just grab certain things … Trust me, forget the mental errors, because that's just life. I don't care what year you're in, you're going to make mental errors. But the way he approaches the game, his speed towards the game, and the way he flies around to the football, you really appreciate watching somebody like him."
On whether too much is being made about S Ed Reed not being here:"I think it is, I think it is. I mean people across the world never worry about minicamps. Whatever him and coach and them have talked about, they have talked about, and I don't think it is an issue at all. Ed [Reed] has other things going on, a baby boy, and he is really trying to focus on things like that, and sometimes life calls you away from the game. And these three days won't take away from where Ed Reed's focus is, and that is to come back in and help our defense be the best defense there is in football. So, I don't think it is an issue at all. Not for us, not for us."
On expecting Reed to be back:"Oh, absolutely. I talked to him, I talked to him. I talk to Ed all the time, and I don't expect anything different. And Ed is Ed, and [when] July 25 comes on, Ed will be here, and we will be getting ready to roll."