Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "It's good seeing everybody. I appreciate you being here. [It was a] good day. It was kind of a challenging day; the humidity and heat are up a little bit, [and] we're coming off the off day yesterday and the game late Saturday night. So, we had to push through that just a little bit. The guys did a good job with that, and [we'll] try to improve throughout the course of the week. What question do you have?"
There are reports that ILB L.J. Fort has a torn ACL. Can you confirm that? How much will that impact the depth at inside linebacker? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, we can confirm that for L.J. [Fort]. I texted with L.J., and as usual, he's just like, 'Coach, nothing will hold me back. I'll be fine. Don't worry about me.' That's just how he always is. We'll move forward. We have really good depth, and we'll be in good shape at linebacker. … I'm thinking of any other injuries. Jaylon [Moore], it was a cramp. James [Proche II] had a few cramps today. We're starting to get some guys back. That's kind of where we're at."
Now that you've had the chance to look at the tape with QB Tyler Huntley, he missed his first four passes and then made 15 out of 16 passes. What did you think of his accuracy and how he controlled the offense? (Todd Karpovich) "[It was] really good, really good. He had a bad break on the tipped ball, and then had a little bit of a high pass on the slant that I'm sure Devin [Duvernay] is going to tell you [that] you should catch it. Then he kind of locked in, moved around the pocket and made a real nice movement to the left, had a little pressure, moved left, put his foot in the ground, threw it and hit Josh [Oliver] on the run there for a third-down conversion. That kind of got him going a little bit, and from there out, [he] played very well."
How tough is it for you guys to make a decision when you have RB Ty'Son Williams and RB Nate McCrary making really good plays? (David Andrade) "We have a lot of tough decisions. We keep saying it's a really good problem to have. You don't want to have nobody to pick from; I'd rather have multiple people to pick from for your 53-man [roster]. The running back position is one of those positions. [So is] the secondary [and] offensive line – really everywhere we're in that position. Maybe not in the linebacker room right now because of L.J.'s [Fort] situation, but pretty much everywhere."
Would you use any defensive backs as a wide receiver in training camp? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "It would be an option, [but] we're not there yet. I think it's something that we'd consider if we had to, but right now, we can play with multiple tight ends or multiple [running] backs. So, right now our plan is to keep it with the offensive guys."
I know FB/DL Patrick Ricard is one of the rare guys that previously did the duet. Is there anybody that could be two-way on your roster, as far as a defensive back that could be a wide receiver? (Jamison Hensley) "I can't say … It must be being talked about out there. It's really not in our conversation right now. It's not what we're thinking, no."
How do you like the cuts they're doing this year, where it's the five [in one week] and five [in the next]? One year, it was just one massive cut. As a coach, would you prefer the one massive cut? Or is it OK doing the slow cuts? (Jamison Hensley) "I don't give it much thought. It'd be, again, a better question for [executive vice president and general manager] Eric [DeCosta]. Whatever it is, we just kind of work through it right now. The coaching side, it's not our focus as much as the guys we have out here, coaching them up."
You go from training camp to joint practices to preseason game. When it's just you guys now, is that a different energy? Is it more of a challenge to get guys intense? (Mark Viviano) "It won't be. Today was a tough day, I just think, because we're coming off the game and guys are tired. We're going into the fourth week or so of training camp, and they have to really work to get their bodies ready to practice. But our guys do a great job of that. … Yes, not having the energy of the fans is part of it, for sure. That's how it is all year, but the fans do bring some good life during training camp."
You guys are facing the Washington Football Team this week. What are your thoughts on what head coach Ron Rivera has done with the team since last season? What do you think of their defensive line as well? (Andrew Golden) "I don't really think much about them, to be honest with you. We don't play them this year. So, I can't give you a scouting report yet. We aren't going to really spend much time studying them, because it's a preseason game. But I will say this about [Washington Football Team head coach] Ron [Rivera]; I think Ron Rivera is one of the best in the whole league in what he does. You can see [that] just from afar, as a fan, reading what you guys write and stuff. I think they're doing a great job over there."
It looked like a lot of the guys today were wearing towels on the back of their shorts. Is that just a preference? Or is there any kind of marker for that? (Jonas Shaffer) "[It's] probably because they're sweating a lot, I guess. That's my best guess." (laughter)
Obviously, a lot of people are talking about the [winning] streak that you guys have in the preseason. Going into this game, is it more paramount for evaluation [and] getting out healthy than possibly eclipsing that streak? (Jamison Hensley) "It is. From a comparison standpoint, it's not even a conversation. We've never approached any of these games any differently than we ever have. What's the best way to say it? It means something to the people that over the years have been a part of it. There are other aspects of it that are valuable, but we'll approach it the same way we always do and let the chips fly."
I can't remember the last time we asked you about TE Nick Boyle. How is he doing? How much progress has he made so far? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I don't really have the percentage on that, but he's making progress. It's a knee, and it was a serious injury. So, he'll be back as soon as he can be. We're still very hopeful for the opener, but we'll just have to see – you never know. The good thing is we have other options, and I like the way our tight ends are coming along. So, we have depth at receiver when those guys get back. So, we'll be able to put a good offense out there if he doesn't make it. If he does make it, it'll be great."
To see T Ronnie Stanley go through a full practice like he did today, how nice is that to see and kind of gauge where he is as we approach the regular season? (Shawn Stepner) "Yes, that's a big positive. He looks really good, and now we just have to … He has to get himself ready to play, really. He's a veteran; he knows how to do that."
Running onto the field to get a kickoff right before the first half, was that something you set up that you wanted to see just to get practice in live reps? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Well, we weren't sorry to see it. I would have rather gotten the first down. I would have rather gotten the touchdown. We were trying to score a touchdown, but the fact that it happened was great. You've seen us practice that out here numerous times, so it's a big part of what we do. So, it's fun to actually get one in a game. The special teams coaches were extremely happy that there were 11 guys out there lined up properly. So, I was proud of the guys for doing it. … I thought we managed the time really well there. Tyler [Huntley] did a really good. So, we got it down under a minute, we had three timeouts, and we had plenty of time. We used them when we needed to use them, then we didn't have one. We're not really a team that saves a timeout; that's really not our philosophy, because you save more time by using them early. So, we have to be able to execute that play if we're going to operate the way we do."
K Justin Tucker
Opening statement: "Hey, everybody. It's good to see you guys. We haven't gotten the chance to do this in a while, so, in the spirt of [former Ravens special team coordinator/associate head coach] Jerry Rosburg, I'll just open it up; 'Fire when ready.'"
On what he's been working on this training camp: "As simply as I can put it, it's see the ball, kick the ball, make kicks. It's got to start there, and then fine-tuning the swing and the technique and the plant [and] keeping the main things the main things. For me, that's replicating that same downfield swing, jumping off my plant foot, being solid with my studs in the ground, and then striking the ball with a high level of consistency. Every day, your body feels a little different; the conditions vary from one day to the next – I mean, they'll vary from one field to the next – so, accounting for all of that and finding ways to make the ball go through the uprights. That's not just the challenge of training camp; that's a challenge of trying to come out here and be great every single day."
On working with LS Nick Moore this season after nine seasons with LS Morgan Cox: "Of course. First of all, I've got to say how thankful I am to have gotten a chance to work with Morgan [Cox] for the last nine years. We wish him all the best, unless we're playing them [Tennessee]; there's always a decent likelihood of things shaking down that way. Nick [Moore] has come in and done an excellent job. He's worked every single day to get just a little bit better. He's getting more and more consistent. The fact that he was here last year and got to experience what it's like to be a part of 'The Wolfpack' firsthand and see how we operate from somewhat of a distance, if you will … And then to kind of get thrown into the fire on the road in Pittsburgh for the one regular season game he did play in last year … His attitude has been great; his work ethic has been great. I can't speak highly enough of his efforts thus far, and time will tell, for all of us, how well we can put it all together."
On if he ever thinks about how much longer he wants to play football: "I feel like that question has come up more and more since I turned 30 years old and now that I'm entering my 10th season in the NFL, but I haven't even hit my prime yet. We're just getting started. In all seriousness, it is a day-to-day thing. It's not even day-to-day; it's one kick to the next – just make the next kick, whether it's in team reps or on Field 3 on our own with just Nick [Moore] and Sam [Koch] and [special teams coordinator] Chris [Horton] and [special teams coach] T.J. [Weist] and [special teams coach] Randy [Brown]. It's always been, 'Make the next kick.' I don't really allow myself time to think about, 'How long do I want to keep playing or what accolades may I be able to achieve?' All that stuff will kind of take care of itself. I'm just enjoying the ride. Anthony Levine Sr. said it best: We break down practice every day with a wise word. A veteran player will get up and have something to say, and Anthony Levine Sr. was one of the first guys to get up and say something, and he just said, 'This is the year of enjoyment.' Everything that we do, whether it's the monotonous grind of training camp, every little thing that we do that leads to the real deal, that leads to playing on Sundays, you've got to just find a way to enjoy it, and it's pretty easy to do that when you have such a great group to be around every single day. I can't speak highly enough of my teammates and what we're able to put together on a daily basis. So, all of the accolades, especially the individual ones, that stuff will figure itself out. I'm just enjoying myself. I'm enjoying my time with my teammates, with my friends, with my coaches, and all that stuff will just sort itself out."
On his impressions of K Jake Verity: "I'll just say, I'll be shocked if he's not on somebody's 53-man roster to start the season. Jake [Verity] has come in with a great attitude, great work ethic, and you don't just find your way on an NFL roster, regardless [of] if it's 90 or 53 men, without being a good football player, without being talented, and Jake certainly has that. He came in with good technique already, and he's just getting better and better. He's got great power, [and] he's just getting better and better. So, I'm excited to see what the future has in store for him. I know we all are. I would also be surprised if we don't get a [draft] pick for him. I think there is a track record that we have of … Like you said, we're able to develop not just our specialists, but we develop everybody here. We're all trying to become the best versions of ourselves that we can be, and he seemingly has put himself in a position to not just be a starter on Week 1 somewhere; I think he's put himself in a position to help our team out as well, by hopefully getting something for him."
FB/DL Pat Ricard
On his offseason hip surgery and how he's feeling: "So, in the offseason, I had to get surgery on my hip. It was something that I felt like had to happen, so I went to Colorado as soon as the season was over, had the surgery, rehabbed out there for a week, flew back home to Massachusetts, was there for two months with my wife, family, friends, rehabbed there, and then by the time I really started progressing on rehab, I came back down here. I went [to] OTAs, stayed here, stayed here for pretty much the whole summer until training camp and just made sure my hip was feeling good, and it is. I'm just working through different things as training camp goes on, but overall, it was a good surgery, and I feel good from it."
On why he chose to have offseason hip surgery: "Pretty much my whole career, I've been having a little bit of, almost like, muscle strains in my hip. So, after the 2019 season, I had an MRI and found out I had a torn labrum in my other hip. Last year, I played with it all torn, knowing it was torn, and as the year went on, I kind of just started feeling more sore [and had] just a little bit more pain in the hip. I had another MRI at the end of the season last year, and that was the point when [it was] like, 'Alright, we need to get this surgery done now,' because if I keep playing with it, it was just going to keep getting worse, [and] the surgery would have to be more aggressive – things like that. So, I had known about it for a year – it could have been longer; I'm not really sure – but pretty much, I had to get it done."
On if he's solely an offensive player now: "I think mentality … Defense is physical, it's relentless, it's all those things – being aggressive. I think I still have that mentality, but overall, my approach is straight offense now. I'm in the offensive room, 100%. I'm with the tight ends, fullbacks – different things like that. So, I'm 100% with the offense, and it's improved my game. It's gotten me more mentally in the playbook, with the coaching staff, with the players on the team, and I'm happy with it. I think I've gotten better as a player; I've improved in areas that maybe I didn't get to, because I was still playing defense, and [I've had] a lot of fun doing it."
On his pass-catching abilities: "Yes, I think, just overall, the routes. I played defense in college, so coming here, I never really ran routes. So, now I've just been slowly adding more routes to my repertoire, and I think overall, I've been just getting better each and every day."
On working alongside rookie FB Ben Mason: "Yes, this has been one of the first years I've had another fullback with me, besides Chris Ezeala. We both just bounce back different ideas of film and technique, and we're getting each other better. It's been a lot of fun. Ben [Mason] is a good player. He's working extremely hard. I like the way he plays, and it's been a lot of fun working together with him."
On if he's had discussions with the Ravens regarding a contract extension: "That's why I have an agent, right? They deal with that. I'm just trying to come out here and just try to improve myself, improve the team and just try to get better."
On the injuries and the importance of getting practice reps during training camp: "It's a good question. The guys who are out there, they've been making plays, [and] they've been showing that they can play in this offense. So, regardless [of] who is ready to go Week 1 or whatever week, I think the guys that have been putting the work in this whole training camp, whole offseason, they're deserving to play. I think we're going to put out winning football, regardless [of] who's out there. The guys who haven't been out here – you mentioned [Nick] Boyle and things like that – they're working extremely hard right now to get back with us. They're all still mentally in our rooms, they're all in the meetings, so I know, when they do come back out there, they're going to be ready to go, and they're going to only make our team better at that point."
OLB Tyus Bowser
On if signing his contract makes him more comfortable: "Yes, definitely. When you're appreciated [and] you work so hard to get to this point, it feels great to go out there. It's like a breath of fresh air just being out there with the guys again, with the coaches [and] everybody in the building. Just getting to play fast, being more comfortable, like you said, and being confident out there ... Just working on your weaknesses, working on your strengths and just striving to be better than what I was before. Coming into a new year, it's been great for me."
On how important the defense's performance is in the preseason practices: "Practice is always important, man. This is where you work on your game. So, when the game does come, you can go out there and put your best foot forward. Just being out here each and every day is a tough grind. Especially during camp, [but] that's just part of it. Being able to do it with my guys and just striving to help each other get better, despite us knowing exactly how they're going to block me or [knowing] what call they have, just being ahead of them, it helps you get better. So, when teams do know what you have going on, you know how to react to it [and] you know how to prepare for it just from being out here at practice. Just being around these guys each and every day is just helping us get better."
On if fans impact the energy level at practice: "Definitely. It's nice to have people come and look at you, see your game and see how you're playing – just us as a defense and us as a team. Fans just bring out the extra energy that you need that you never thought that you needed. It's a lot quieter out here with nice little weather [and a] nice cool breeze. But when you have fans out here rooting for you [with] big time catches, or interceptions, or anything like that, it just helps boost your energy. It helps the practice come out a lot smoother."
On if he could give a preview of his sack dance: "Sack dance?" (Calais Campbell: "Yes, can we get a preview, please?") "Man, I feel like I'm going to leave that on the field whenever I make it. But I got you, man. I got you. We're going to make it happen." (laughter)
On what he sees from the outside linebacker room after the departures of OLB Matthew Judon and OLB Yannick Ngakoue: "[There's] just a new energy with a new group of guys that want it – just like we had last year with Matt [Judon] and 'Yan' [Yannick Ngakoue]. That same energy is there. The same mission is to get to the quarterback to create pressure in the backfield, and that's what we're going to do. We have great guys who work hard each and every day at practice. We help each other on the field and off the field, after practice [and] before practice, shoot – even in the locker room just talking about it. These guys want it, and that's what you need as an outside linebacker group – just guys that want to be great and want to strive to get to the quarterback. I feel great about the guys that we have now."
On what OLB Justin Houston has brought to the team: "He's been great. Just from Day One, he's just been a guy that you can go to to ask any type of questions, to work on any type of moves. Just what he's had to go through in the past as far as pass rushing and just even after practice, giving us small little things. You see him out there walking back to the facility with the young guys; he's out here doing it for us – that just shows you the leader that he is. That shows you the type of player that we have that's going to help this team [and help] this outside linebacker group be the best outside linebacker group that we can be. Just having a guy like him around has been fantastic. Anytime I can be around a vet, especially a great player like him … His track record shows; [he has] close to 100 sacks. So, just having a guy like him around, I'm very honored and privileged to just be around a player like him."
On if the 19-game winning streak in the preseason has any significance: "Absolutely. Anytime you're able to get on the field … Like [defensive coordinator Don Martindale] 'Wink' said, if there's a scoreboard out there, we're trying to win. It's as simple as that. That's just the vibe, and that's the type of mindset we have as a team. Even as a defense, anytime that there's a scoreboard and they're taking score, regardless of … Even if we're going against the offense during practice, when we have situations that they have the scoreboard up there, either they're down three, or they need a touchdown, or a field goal, we're trying to stop them and win the game, or stop them from getting a field goal so we can be ahead during halftime. So, anytime we have a scoreboard out there, our mindset is to win."
On his impressions of OLB Odafe Oweh: "He's a freak athlete. He's definitely been making huge strides this entire training camp, and I'm just excited to see him when we come in Week 1. Even just during preseason, I'm excited to see him go out there and play, because I know he's going to go out there and put his best foot forward. He's going to go out there and grind and help the team win. It's just great to see a young guy like him soak up all the knowledge, the skillsets, what we have on the field and then put it into play on the field. It's great seeing him out there."
On the advice he gives the rookie players for preseason: "Really just to go out there and enjoy the moment. This is the last preseason game, and just with this League and this business, you just never know if this is your last one or not. So, for the young guys, it's just put your best foot forward, enjoy the moment, go out there and play hard for your guys, and at the end of the day, come out with the win. As long as you did your job, you played hard [and] you're satisfied with where you're at, then the rest will take care of itself."