Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"Thanks for coming out. [We had a] good practice. I'm very pleased with our guys coming off the game. It was a game where most of the guys played a lot of the game. They came out ready to go. We were in pads today. It was a full contact practice, [and] I thought our guys did a very good job. I just want to comment on the [roster] cutdown today: Today is one of two really challenging days in the National Football League. Any of us who have been through it … We've all been through it. We've all been cut from something in our life. We've all been turned down for an opportunity at some point in time, and that's really what today is for a lot of guys whose dream it is to play in the National Football League. You want to make it clear to them that this is not permanent, it's not final – 'no' does not mean 'never' – and the opportunity is still there for a lot of guys. I think of two guys, really, off the top of my head – Omar [Brown] and LaQuan [Williams] – who are just two guys who have been here for a long time, have been Ravens for a number of years and have contributed so much to us. That's the toughest thing. They're going to go play for other teams – I don't doubt that at all. But those guys have contributed so much, and we're so appreciative of what they've done. And all of those guys will get opportunities elsewhere or back here again in the future. That was a tough day. Some tears, some hugs, and you come back out and you go back to work."
Do the players get a sense that, "Wait a second, it's getting there now," when the final cutdown is getting closer and you don't see as many teammates beside you? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, there is a feeling when you have fewer guys. It starts in the meeting. We came in the meeting … I walked in and I waited a little bit, and my first thought was, 'Everybody is not here. Do we have everybody?' We did have everybody, but we didn't. The same thing [happened] at practice today. One of our new coaches – [it's his] first time in the NFL … He said, 'How many guys did we let go?' I said, 'Well, there are 15 less guys here, 10 [less] at practice.' He goes, 'Man, it looks like 100.' It changes the dynamic."
John, how is DT Terrence Cody progressing, and do you anticipate him starting the year on PUP? (Luke Jones) "I don't want to say. We have a couple options on that. He's progressing well. He's done a really good job. Whether he's ready to play yet or not, we'll have to decide and determine. But I don't want to say at this time what we plan on doing, and we really don't know yet."
How did TE Owen Daniels do today? Did he have to ease in, or was he able to jump in and do everything? (Aaron Wilson)"Owen went through individual [drills], so he got back out there and ran around. Like you said, we don't want to bring him back too fast and throw everything on him today. But he's working his way back in."
I know you said it's not injury-related with TE Owen Daniels. Is it something that could affect his status going forward, or do you still expect him to be up there this week? (Jamison Hensley) "I don't anticipate it affecting his status. [By] definition of an injury – whatever – I just go by what [the medical staff] tells me. There's no tear; there's no pull. There is swelling in the legs. That's probably the result of stress. Obviously, he's not right, or we would've played him. But we also felt like he has had so many reps in this offense. [We wanted him to] just take a week or a week-and-a-half, or whatever it was, and just let him getting fully recovered and let him get fully rested. We'll bring him back now today, tomorrow, a little bit on Wednesday, and then I really do anticipate him practicing fully on Friday. We'll just have to see, but I'd be surprised if he doesn't practice on Friday fully."
What's going on with S Matt Elam and WR Kamar Aiken? (Aaron Wilson) "Matt has a little leg issue from the game – a muscle issue. He should be out there Friday. And Kamar … I'm not sure about Kamar. I don't think it's anything serious. I don't remember hearing about that."
Do you feel like this year's cuts are going to be even more difficult than previous years? I know it's hard to make comparisons, but you had such good depth this year. Does that make it real hard? (Ryan Mink) "It's hard every year. It seems like we get to this point every year and we feel this way about our team. It just seems like it's a challenge every year. That's a good problem to have. Getting to the season, I hope it's proven true. I hope we don't think we have good depth and all of the sudden we get into the season [and] we find out we don't. That's the nature of what we do."
WR Deonte Thompson and WR Michael Campanaro both had strong games – Deonte with a touchdown in back-to-back weeks. What's it going to come down to in determining how many receivers should be kept on the roster in that position battle overall? (Garrett Downing) "It's going to come down to what it always does. It's just going to come down to what we think is the best for the team. We'll keep the best – [I don't have] a number. I read one of you guys said, 'They'll keep around six.' That's right. We'll keep around six guys. (laughter) What a prediction! You guys are amazing. Bold prediction! (laughter) And we'll just have to decide. We don't know yet. If we did, we would … We probably wouldn't tell you, (laughter) but we don't know yet. We'll just have to see how it goes and what we think is best for the team. There are a lot of things that go into it."
John, is RB Bernard Pierce coming around? Is he starting to feel a little bit better? (Aaron Wilson) "I was told by [Ravens head certified athletic trainer] Mark [Smith] he's feeling a lot better today. It was described as a mild concussion, but I'll tell you what … Nowadays, with those things, I don't take any stock in that until they tell me that he's back. The concussion thing is just hard to predict."
John, you guys lost a really good player in DE Arthur Jones in free agency. I know DT Brandon Williams isn't playing the same exact spot, but he is on the starting line of that base defense. How encouraging is it to see the way he's been playing and coming along here in the preseason? (Luke Jones) "Are we talking about Arthur Jones or Brandon Williams?"
I was just saying, having lost a player like DE Arthur Jones – who meant so much to you – just the way DT Brandon Williams is emerging as a starter on the defensive line … (Luke Jones) "Brandon Williams is doing a great job. Brandon Williams is a good player. You lose players every year. It's really irrelevant. I mean, really, in all honesty, it doesn't matter. You lose guys every year and you have to replace them. It wouldn't matter if any of the guys that were here last year weren't here this year. You'd still be looking for good players. To me, that's the point. The point you're making is that Brandon Williams has played very well, and his best game was against Washington. He was dominant – absolutely controlled the middle of the line of scrimmage. That's something to build off of. I'm excited about it, but he has to keep going. He has to keep getting better. He's a young guy. We don't want him to get too happy with himself, and he's not that kind of guy who would anyway. We'll see where he goes from here."
John, what makes DT Haloti Ngata particularly well-suited to play the spot he's in now – playing where DE Arthur Jones used to run at? (Aaron Wilson)"Who's that?"
DT Haloti Ngata. (Aaron Wilson) "Haloti Ngata? You're going to ask me what makes him suited to play defensive line?"
No, I'm asking, what do you like about him in his new position? (Aaron Wilson) "He's not playing a new position. He's played all three of those positions throughout his whole career. He's played three-technique, he's played nose guard and he's played five-technique throughout his whole career. You've been covering us his whole career here." (laughter)
He's mostly played … (Aaron Wilson) "No, he hasn't. He's played them all. He's played defensive tackle, and we played him at defensive end when we needed a defensive end. Three-technique, nose guard – it's the same. Those guys play those positions all the time; it's defensive tackle."
S Terrence Brooks talked about how he got rid of the clutter and just settled down to stop worrying about nonsense. Have you been able to tell a difference in him the last couple of weeks and the strides he's made? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Terrence has really made a move in the last week or so. He's playing faster; he's playing more assured of what his assignments are and what he's supposed to do [and] where he's supposed to be. That's a natural progression. You hope the guy is coming along quickly. He was kind of slow for a while. He wasn't showing that he kind of understood what he was doing, but I think the light came on maybe two weeks ago, football-wise, and now it's really starting to show up in the way he's playing. That gets me fired up. I'm really happy to see that."
You've said before you feel that safety is one of the toughest positions for a rookie to come in and grasp immediately. (Jeff Zrebiec) "For him to jump up in the last week or so – maybe two weeks – the way he has is kind of surprising. It seems like it's usually slower-going at that position, so I'm really happy about it. We'll see a lot Thursday night [at New Orleans] from Terrence. If he flies around, does the right thing and plays fast like [he did against Washington], it'll be a real good sign for us."
**I know in the preseason you want to stay healthy and you want to evaluate. Does it matter or does it have any meaning if you guys were to go undefeated in the preseason? Does winning games … Where does that fit in the preseason? *(Jamison Hensley) *"Does it matter? I'm not following you."
How much does it really matter to win? (Jamison Hensley)"Matter to what? In what respect?"
Matter to the team? (Jamison Hensley) "What part of the team? Like whether we're going to win the first game, or whether we want to win this game? What are you saying? You're pinning me down with a question I can't answer."
I'm just saying, as far as priorities, I know staying healthy and… (Jamison Hensley) "Oh, we're not playing the starters. Is that what you're asking?"
No, no, no, no. I just didn't know if it would mean anything for you… (Jamison Hensley) "Sure, it would. I want to win – absolutely, because if I say it a certain way, then you're going to say, 'Harbaugh says it doesn't matter.' If you're going to say it another way, 'Harbaugh says it matters,' and, 'What does the preseason matter?' That question is like completely vague enough. Now, if you want to ask me the right question: 'Do you want to win the game?' Yes. I want to win the game. We don't go down there [to New Orleans] to not win the game. We are going to do everything we can to win the game. If we walk off the field without the win, I'm not going to be happy about it. I want to walk over and shake the other coach's hand as the winner – not the loser. What do they say in the movie ['Talladega Nights']? Is it Ricky Bobby? What's his famous quote? He said second is first … ('If you're not first, you're last.') … There's another one, though. 'Second is first loser.' (laughter) Now that's not true. All you kids out there – (looks at cameras) that's not true in youth sports, or even high school sports, or probably anything in amateur sports. But in pro football, that's true. [The media] has written about that many times, so you can vouch for that better than anybody."
The way I should've phrased it though … How you guys fare in the preseason – you've been in many, many preseasons … Does it have any carryover into the success of wins and losses? Do you think it carries over, for you guys, to the regular season? (Jamison Hensley) "I happen to feel it does. How you play in the preseason matters, because I think you see what kind of football … Now there's been 0-4 teams that have gone on to win Super Bowls. Somebody can call B.S. on that and say that's not right, but I think it matters. I want to go out there and play well. We should play well, because if we're a good football team, we should play well every time we go out there. Now the ball may bounce this way, it may bounce that way; we might win, we may not. We're going to go out there and fight, but I want to fight and play well, no matter what. When we put a helmet on and they have a scoreboard up there ... The scoreboard's going to be lit up for a reason, and we're going to try and be on the top part of that."
John, QB Tyrod Taylor – what have you seen from him in terms of progress? (Aaron Wilson) "The main thing Tyrod has done is he's moved the team. Tyrod has moved the team; he's scored points. My brother has told me many times how you evaluate a quarterback: Can you envision and see how he's going to move your football team? We can all see how Tyrod can move the football team. That's how we're evaluating him, and he's done a very good job."
John, K Justin Tucker had as good of a season as you can have last year, but no matter how much success he has, there's always something he's focusing on getting better at. (Jeff Zrebiec) "Right. That's the thing about 'Tuck' that's so great – he's so motivated. He's never satisfied. He's never happy. He can kick a ball straight down the middle and come back and tell me what was wrong with it. As a coach, you feel pretty good about that. It's the guy that's missing it three yards to the right that's telling me how good a kick it was that you kind of really don't want to hear. He's a perfectionist. They all are – Sam [Koch] is, Morgan [Cox] is. That's a great group. I really think it's the best group of specialists in football. Just what you said about him is exactly right."
DT Brandon Williams
On how he felt about the Redskins preseason game: "[I] executed, pretty much. We worked all week watching film and working through plays, and it came down to execution. And that's what I did."
On whether he is embracing the nose tackle position: "I love it. It's fun. Nose position … It's football. I've been playing [nose tackle] since eighth grade, and it just fits. I'm stocky and short, but it's a great position. It also gets Haloti [Ngata] on the edge and rushing the passer a little bit and takes double-teams away from him, and I'm happy to have him. So, it's good to be the nose guard."
On whether he did anything differently this offseason to prepare for training camp: "Definitely. [I] lowered my body fat. I got my body composition down. Last year I was heavier than I needed to be, and [during] the offseason [I] got a lot more cardio in and [put] a lot more work in physically [in the] weight room to bring that down. And now I'm at 22 percent body fat, so from back [down] when I was 28 or 30."
On making plays as a nose tackle: "It's always good to make plays. My job [is] to take up blockers, so the linebackers and everyone else can make plays. [I] definitely try to get my plays in there as well, but sometimes it's not always about making the play. You can make the play different ways, like I said – taking up blockers, so Daryl [Smith] can run through and make the play in the backfield; taking up a couple bodies, so someone else can get in there and make the play. You make the play by doing your job. I guess I did my job. [I] did my job pretty well."
On DE Arthur Jones not being with the Ravens this season: "Arthur [Jones] was an amazing player. [He is a] great guy, great friend. He's not here with us now, but we still have to play football. [We] still have to play games. As much of a great player [as] he was, I feel like as a team everyone stepped up, definitely, to make up for losing him. So, we're doing a great job in the meeting rooms, and rookies are definitely coming up. So, everyone is doing their part."
On what he sees from DT Haloti Ngata: "He looks great. The dude is a beast. He's Haloti Ngata. [When] I first came here and saw him, I was like, 'That's definitely how you're supposed to look when you're playing football.' So, I definitely look up to him and Chris Canty. [I'm] trying to be a pro, trying to eat right, trying to work out, try to emulate them as much as possible and being a pro in everything I do."
On whether he has watched old film of former Ravens NT Kelly Gregg: "I actually have. Me and 'C.B.' [defensive line coach Clarence Brooks] talk, and he put some film on my iPad – and for everyone, not just for me – to look at what he did and how he played. So, I've definitely been doing that and trying to work that into the repertoire."
On whether he especially notices Kelly Gregg's play-making ability on tape: "[His] play-making ability, his hands, his feet, the way he gets off blocks, the way he moves – everything."
On how tough it is to see teammates cut from the roster: "It's really tough to see guys go, because there were a bunch of good guys that left. But in the back of your mind, you're thinking they're going to end up somewhere else. They were good players here. They'll be good players at other places. It's one of those things [where] it's sad, but at the end of the day, you still have to come out here and work. You can't think about, 'Oh man, we lost a couple guys,' because you have to come out here and continue to do your job, so you won't be the next one out the door."
On how he plans to put his game on the same level as players like DT Haloti Ngata: "My execution. Playing off of their energy and playing off of their tempo. Matching their physicality and continue to dominate plays."