Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, [it's] good to see you guys. I appreciate you being here. I hope everybody had a good weekend. We're excited for the season. It's Game Week, now. We have a couple of practices … Of course, our Game Week is pushed back a little bit. We're one of the last two teams to play, which is … I'd rather be one of the first two teams to play. So, we have to wait a little longer. It seems like it takes so long [and] takes so much work to get to the first game, and then once you get to the first game, you're out of the gates and it comes fast. So, we're trying to get ourselves as ready as we can for that, and [we're] trying to put our best foot forward as much as we can. So, what questions do you have?"
Do you feel after the three-day break … You talked about maybe getting the batteries recharged a little bit. Do you kind of feel that way after having three days off? (Jamison Hensley) "For the team?" (Reporter: "Yes.") "Yes, I think so. They were in good spirits this morning in the team meeting. We have a type of a practice that we run in these situations today, so we'll see how they look."
Can you say where you are with your COVID-19 vaccination rate for the team going into the season? I guess more broadly, do you have concerns that you guys could see the kind of interruption that you did last year? (Childs Walker) "I don't think we'll see the kind of interruption that we saw last year. … The vaccination rate is still above 90%. I don't know exactly what it is. I haven't seen that number, but it didn't go any lower – I know that. So, I think we're in good shape."
A lot has been said about QB Lamar Jackson being figured out. Last week, Robert Griffin III, someone who knows him very well, he made a comment about how his instinct can make a moment unpredictable. What can you say about that? (David Andrade) "I don't know about the comment specifically, which is good, but … You have to explain what 'figured out' means. People say that, but they don't explain what it means, because they don't really know what it means. It's just a general throwaway term. So, show me the X's and O's part of that and then I'll understand what they're talking about."
Over the years, what have you found to be the biggest challenge when preparing for your Week 1 opponent? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "The biggest challenge is the unknown. You just don't really know yourself until you play, and you don't know your opponent, because you haven't seen them on tape. It's one thing to watch them from last year, but they're different. The preseason doesn't tell you much. So, you just kind of go into the game without much information. You have a lot more information [for] Game Two, and it builds steadily throughout the season. So, the unknown is the biggest thing."
Over the past two years, you've outscored teams 97-16 in that Week One matchup. Why do you think … Is there something in your preparation or how you handle training camp that you think is a factor in why you've been so dominant in Week One? (Jamison Hensley) "We've played well in those games, but this is a new game. This is a different opponent, [and] it's a new year. Nothing counts. You can't look back; you have to look forward. We just have to get ourselves ready to play this game against a very good Raiders team. They have an established program. They're very physical up front on both sides. You can see that; that's what they want to be. They have speed. They have a veteran quarterback. They have a new defensive system. They have a very good special teams coordinator, and all those things go into play that we're trying to take into account."
What have you seen from LS Nick Moore's progress? We haven't asked you about him. How have you seen him build up the consistency [after] LS Morgan Cox was here for so long? (Jeff Zrebiec) "You just kind of go by what you've seen in practice. He's done well. He's been on point with all his snaps. I think he's improved. Having him here all last year was a big plus, [and] having him on the practice squad turned out to be really a good move. So, he got better throughout a whole year of practicing every single day, and it showed up in the way he's practiced now. But once again, the unknown – until you get out there in a game and do it in a game, that's when you find out for sure."
With WR Marquise Brown returning to the practice field last week, how did he look in practice? Did he look like he's going to be ready to go here and shake off the rust from missing time in training camp? (Ryan Mink) "Right, that's the point – he has to. He looked good. He's just in the process of getting himself ready. You can't get those days back, but he's a really good football player. He's in good shape. I think our people have done a good job with the rehab, the conditioning and all that. He's been in all the meetings. He knows what to do, so now he has to go out and do it."
We haven't seen G Kevin Zeitler in practice the past couple of days. Any information you can share on that? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, he'll be practicing this week."
How do you feel to play in Las Vegas? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) (laughter) "You know, I just go … I drive to the airport when we travel, I get on the plane, and I go wherever they land. I get on a bus, and I go to whatever hotel. People call and ask, 'What hotel are you staying at?' [I say,] 'The one they drop us off at,' and then we play the team that we're prepared to play. So, that's the extent of anywhere we play – whether it'd be Las Vegas or anywhere else. I'm pretty sure the plane is going to drop us off in Las Vegas."
It's a relatively new venue that you're not used to playing at. Is there anything to that in the NFL? Or are they all pretty similar? (Noah Trister) "They're all pretty similar in that they're all challenging and daunting. When you haven't seen one before, and maybe that's more of the question … Not seeing the stadium before, it will be different. But for the rookies, you forget [that] the rookies have never seen any of these places before. So, they just have to go out there and do it. I'm looking forward to seeing the stadium – I am. I'm just looking forward to getting the season started. I can't wait, really."
S Chuck Clark
On Virginia Tech's season-opening win: "Yes, I like that – for sure. I wish I would have gone, but I love that win. I've got my Hokies shirt on right now."
On when the team starts preparing for their season-opening opponent: "I think it's when the schedule is first released, and [when] you figure out who that first opponent is, you kind of get your iPad, you start looking at old film and watching stuff, and then once you get with the team, you start kind of putting things together. So, it's a nice process. It's been a while. We've been studying for a while."
On if he started looking at the Raiders' film when the schedule came out: "I feel like everybody [did] – coaches, players, everybody. Once you get your iPad and you know who you've got the first couple of games, you start looking at a little film; 'All right, this is who we've got. Lock in.' Yes, definitely."
On TE Darren Waller: "He's one of the top tight ends in the league right now. He can make plays, he's big, and he's fast."
On TE Darren Waller being a challenge to defend when he was on the Ravens' practice squad: "Yes, we knew what type of matchup threat he was, for sure – definitely."
On QB Derek Carr and the Raiders' passing offense: "I just think they're efficient in what they do. They've got a good quarterback that's running the system, and he's got good guys out there that can make plays, and they know where to go with the ball. He can throw the ball. His deep ball is good, so he can do that, as well. They've got a good system and they're effective."
On if there is any added excitement when playing in a new stadium for the first time: "Yes, definitely. You definitely want to get that first win in a new stadium, for sure, just to say you've got that under your belt."
On if it will feel strange to have full stadiums with fans again: "No, I don't think it will [be strange]. We had a couple preseason games with fans. Especially in the last one, the fans got into it – they started the wave going – so I think it's going to feel normal again."
On if he's excited for packed stadiums again: "Definitely, definitely. I feel like the fans bring the energy. We've already got our own energy, but they bring more energy, more excitement to it. It just makes it a great atmosphere, and there's definitely a difference, for sure."
On what he said to RB J.K. Dobbins after his injury: "Yes, I remember just going over to him [and] telling him he's going to battle through it. He's strong. He's going to come back better than ever."
On if he has to talk to some younger players about travelling to Las Vegas to ensure they understand that it's a business trip: "No, I don't think so. We've got the right guys around here. Being in that situation before, knowing it's my first game, so for those guys, it's their first game, they're going to be locked in, and they're going to be ready and prepared to do whatever they've got to do to play good."
On if the defense believes it can be special: "Definitely. Every day in our meetings, we talk about what we can do and the potential we have, but we know that it's ultimately up to us to go out there and do that. We can't just sit around and talk about it all the time. So, coming out with this first game, we've got to go show it and prove it."
On what he's hoping to see from S DeShon Elliott: "Take the next step. We both said it's time to take the next step in both of our careers and start getting those accolades and those mentions and those honors. So, definitely for him to take the next step, for sure."
WR Marquise Brown
On what he worked on during the offseason to prepare for the regular season: "I was out [for] the majority of this training camp, but I've just been doing a good job of staying locked in the gameplan, staying locked in with my teammates and just doing everything I can to get back on the field and stay on the field."
On if there is any concern that his missed time in training camp will affect his chemistry with QB Lamar Jackson: "No; when I got back out there, it was just like we picked up where we left off. Just being out there is definitely better than not being out there. You can always gain more and more each day that you're out there. So, that's the goal is to always be at practice."
On if he feels 100% and that his injury is behind him: "Yes, sir."
On how frustrating it was to be injured during camp: "[It was] very frustrating. I came into this camp feeling the best I have felt, and I was excited. I had a good start to camp, and then … It was frustrating, but everything happens for a reason."
On how he feels to play the Las Vegas Raiders for the first time in his career: "I'm excited; those guys play hard over there. It'll be my first time in Vegas, so I'm excited to play in their stadium."
On if he expects it to take a couple games to regain the form he was hoping to have with QB Lamar Jackson: "No, I plan on hitting and rolling this game."
On if he's noticed a difference in QB Lamar Jackson's passes compared to previous years: "Yes, just watching him and now being out there with him, he's dialed in. He's locked in on everything right now. So, I'm excited to see him play."
On why he thinks QB Lamar Jackson is so dialed in: "He wants to win. He wants to win. Year after year, when you end the season, you go on to, 'What can I improve on? What can I get better at?' You can tell that he took those steps to really take it to the next level."
On what's impressed him the most about the other wide receivers: "Just how we feed off each other and big plays. There's no shying away from competition in the room. If someone makes a big play, the next person wants to make a big play. That's how the competitiveness in the room is going to fuel everyone to make big plays out there."
On why he felt confident that he'd be able to pick up where he left off when he returned from his injury: "Just the mentality that I had while I wasn't out there, I stayed dialed in with my teammates. Just because I wasn't out there, every rep they were taking I felt like I was taking. Every mistake or every good thing they did, I put myself in those shoes. So, when I got out here, I knew what to expect, I knew how to do stuff and I knew the standard that the room has been setting this whole camp."
On if losing RB J.K. Dobbins for the season added any additional pressure to the passing game to step up even more: "I don't think so. J.K. [Dobbins] is a tremendous back. We would have loved to have him, but we're confident in the guys we have. We're confident in what we can do in the pass game. So, we're just going to continue to go forward and keep pushing."
On if he feels this year could be the "pass heaviest" offense in Baltimore since he's been here: "I think so. We have a possibility to take it the distance for whoever gets the ball. So, I'm excited about that."
On what expectations he has for himself this season: "I think I just want to be healthy. I want to play in every game and just win the Super Bowl. I think that's my No. 1 goal."