Ravens Offseason Program Transcripts

OLB Paul Kruger

On whether he sees this offseason as a good opportunity to earn the starting outside linebacker spot: "Yeah, it's a great opportunity for me. I couldn't ask to be in a better situation, so I'm going to be grinding as much as I can from here until August to prepare myself for [training] camp as much as possible. So, I'm real excited."

On some of the things former Ravens OLB Jarret Johnson taught him: "He taught me a number of things; mainly just how to be a student of the game and how to make yourself better in the classroom. So, that's one thing that I'm going to take from him for sure. You know, how to prepare, how to influence other players because of the knowledge that you have. So, that's going to be my main focus this offseason, is just grasping everything [and] understanding the defense through-and-through. So, that's going to be a huge focus for me."

On going into this offseason knowing what position he will compete at and having the opportunity to earn a starting role: "Yeah, it makes all the difference in the world. It gives you confidence and excitement for something coming up. It gives you an exact direction to go when you're watching film or you're looking at tape, you can know exactly what position you're going to be playing. So, it's pretty exciting for me. It's been tough – I think a great learning experience – to kind of bounce around, but at the same time, it's pretty exciting to have a solidified spot that you know they're putting you into for the opportunity to take it over. So, it's definitely something I'm looking forward to."

On how difficult it is to set the edge, something Johnson was regarded as one of the best at doing: "Yeah, he is one of the best at it. You've got to be a tough guy, and like you see on tape, Jarret was just one of those guys that just had that pit bull in him to get in there, get it done, and kind of sacrifice his body to do what was best for the team. So, that's kind of a role I'm hoping to get real good at, is sitting up on a tight end, kind of playing that outside 'backer position. I do a lot of it at the rush position – rushing the passer and stuff – but it's a little bit different."

On whether he has talked to Johnson at all since he signed with San Diego: "Yeah, like I said, me and Jarret were real good friends when he was here. I've talked to him a couple times this offseason. So, yeah, there are a lot of things somebody can tell you, and it's easy to listen and say, 'OK, OK, OK, that's great.' But at the same time, you've got to just get in there and make it work for yourself. Every situation is different, every player is different, so you've got to kind of find your own little role within the position. So, I've taken all that I can from Jarret, and I'll still call the guy and he's just a great mentor and friend. But there comes a point in time when you've got to just do it yourself, you've got to figure it out and make it happen."

On whether he enjoys doing the "dirty work": "Yeah, I mean that's part of the game, especially the D-line position [and] outside linebacker-type spot. You've got to be willing to get in there and fight every play [and] be physical. So, yeah, that's why I play the game. I love that stuff. So, I'm really looking forward to getting out there and playing first, second, third, fourth down instead of just on third. So, I'm pretty excited."

On whether he has to take care of his body differently as an every-down player: "We'll see. During the season, the guys who are playing a decent amount, you are icing, you are doing what you can to feel as good as you can every Sunday. I wouldn't say my routine is going to be 100% different. [I] just hope to stay healthy and do as good as you can – ice, all that kind of stuff."

On if his weight has changed at all to prepare for an expanded role: "I am about the same weight, 265, 270, right in there. As long as I can keep my speed and feel effective that way, that is probably the most important thing for me, keeping that explosiveness. So, as long as I feel that, I'll try to get as heavy as possible, but you probably won't see me heavier than 270-275."

T Michael Oher

On how his offseason knee rehab is going: "I'm just now starting to feel good again. A lot of coach rehab and stuff like that, but starting to feel pretty good [and] getting ready for OTAs and stuff like that."

On what strengths he's seen from G/T Jah Reid playing guard in practice: "He gives 150% effort. He's very physical. He's going to give you his all. I think I'm looking forward to him getting in and making an impact. Like I said, he's a very physical player and I'm looking for him to have a pretty good year in there at guard."

On whether he's offered Reid any advice about the process of switching sides on the offensive line: "Yeah, here and there. If I see him doing something wrong I just give him a pointer here and there. But he's a very hard worker, so I think the transition [from] him playing tackle a lot in his career; I think it'll be an easy transition for him to go to guard. Like I said, he gives it his all and I think he'll do well."

On whether he views himself as a left tackle in the long-term: "I just love to play football. It's about winning games with me, just being a team guy. I'll play anything they want me to play as long as I'm playing. So, I'm happy with that."

On some of the workouts the players have been going through this week: "Just your normal running; we pushed sleds today. Going in the weight room [and] lifting pretty hard. Just a lot of hard work [and] just doing different things to get better."

On what he had to do in terms of rehabbing his knee: "Just rest. Just rest and rehab, stuff like that. Nothing major."

On whether it is being overstated in the media that the team's biggest needs are on the offensive line: "I think we'll be alright on the offensive line. Everybody said the same thing, [that] we weren't going to gel at the beginning of last season. I think we did fairly well, but I think we'll be alright. We've got coaches that are going to work us and guys that are willing to get better, so I think we'll be alright."

On whether he remembers his personal experiences with the NFL Draft: "Before the Draft, nervous. Not knowing where you're going to end up, [it was] just nerve-wracking. But, it was a great experience for me, something I'd looked forward to all my life. It was a great experience."

On his thoughts of the 2012 schedule: "I think somebody said – I really haven't seen the schedule – but said it's pretty tough. But every Sunday is tough. You're going to have to come out the same way every Sunday, so get ready for your opponent."

G/T Jah Reid

On what the coaches told him they expect from him heading into next season: "They told me to expect to be a starter. Be put in there, work to be a starter, expect to come in and play and work hard. That's what I've been doing."

On if he has played guard before in college or high school: "I played guard sparingly during college, but last year was mostly my experience during practice. Offensive linemen can't be one-dimensional. You have to play more than one position. I like to think that I am well-rounded."

On the challenges moving from tackle to guard and the challenges of moving from the right side to the left side: "I think the footwork. Playing mostly [on the] right, I have to work a little bit on my left. Playing next to Matt Birk and [Bryant] McKinnie, it's not going to be that bad playing left guard. I just have to go out there and work and get better every day."

On why people think that the transition from tackle to guard is easier than vice versa: "They like to think that tackles are better athletes and it's an easier transition. I think I am an athlete, and I think I should be able to do it and play the position well. I look forward to doing that. I look forward to playing guard."

On his first full offseason: "It's neat. It's nice being here with the team working out instead of being on my own. Now, I know what to expect, I know what to work on. It's good being with our conditioning staff. It's great."

On if he understands what he missed during last offseason with the lockout: "Oh, yeah. I definitely missed out on a lot. I could see where this would prepare me better for last year if I had been here and be able to take advantage of this. But, I can't worry about that. I just need to work on now and improve what I am doing for this next season."

On if he has any memories leading up to being selected in the draft: "It's a very nerve-wracking experience, getting ready and sitting there on draft day. But, it was also a great thing to go through, good memories. It's going to be nice having some new rookies come in here and then being off the rookie stage."

On what kind of things he had to do as a rookie for the veteran guys: "It wasn't too bad. I just had to buy some Chick-fil-A sometimes." (laughter)

On how much he pays attention to what the team does with regards to personnel along the offensive line: "I certainly have to go in and expect to play. I want this position, and it's mine to lose. Just keep working, and I'm not going to worry about anybody else coming in. I just need to work on myself."

CB/RS Lardarius Webb

On if his new contract is a load off of his mind: "It was a good thing. My agent and the Ravens, they came to a nice agreement. I am happy for it. I am happy for my family, and just happy to be around Baltimore for a long time."

On his earlier comments that the Ravens have the best secondary in the NFL: "I stand strong to what I said. With Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard on the back end, it makes us even stronger. And with Jimmy Smith and Cary [Williams] actually being in their first year, last year, and the way they came out and changed our secondary completely, I say, 'Why not?' When you want to put me with those four guys, I say, 'Oh yes, it makes us even better.' But yes, we know that there are other great DB corps out there, but we still say that we're the best."

On the challenges of the Ravens' 2012 schedule: "It's a tough schedule, but it's a schedule for the Baltimore Ravens. It's a schedule they always give us because they know that we can take that schedule. We're ready for it. It's good that they released it now so we know exactly what we're working towards. It makes us work a little harder."

On how much of a step forward CB Jimmy Smith can take in his second year: "With his first offseason, including my first offseason, I think he could make a huge step. With his talent, his knowledge, I think he is going to be a Pro Bowl corner coming up next year. A lot of guys are going to look at him and say, 'Man, that guy has improved over one year.' But remember, he didn't have an offseason last year. He came straight in and did a great job for us. I just look for him to improve, him and Cary [Williams]. I always put those two together because it was their first year actually starting a whole season. Jimmy didn't start, but he basically started. I look for a lot of improvement in all of us."

On what he attributes his ascension last year to: "It was a lot of things. When you always have No. 20 [Ed Reed] in the middle of the field, it makes you better. It makes the defense better. It makes quarterbacks scared, and [they] really don't want to go towards No. 20. So, it left me out on an island, kind of hidden a little bit, and they tried me more times than often. A lot of hard work, a lot of studying, a lot of watching Ed Reed and watching Ray Lewis and the Haloti [Ngata]'s and just wanting to be a guy that gets his name called out at least one time on the defense. It's kind of hard when you have Haloti, Terrell Suggs, Ray and Ed and all of these great players, Jarret Johnson. You have to step your game up just a little bit more if you want to be part of this defense. It was just a lot of hard work and a lot of studying."

On the next step for him: "The next step, I would like to make All-Pro. I would like to be in a Pro Bowl. Maybe six interceptions this season – I had five [last season]. There are a lot more steps. Having a bigger role in leadership; maybe some guys will listen more now. I always used to try to talk, but I didn't know how much they were listening. I think now, since we're here together, we're bonding right now, and the guys, we're just close now. When I have something to say, it seems like they listen. Their eyes are really paying attention now. It probably took the contract, I guess, for it to happen, but it really does seem like they listen just a little bit more, and I'm happy with it."

On how beneficial it is to have the workouts this year, opposed to last year with the lockout: "It's huge for the Baltimore Ravens. Last year, we went young, had a lot of young guys on special teams that we really didn't have that time to show them how to do it. It was just training camp and, 'Learn it now,' so we can start the season. So, that's why our special teams weren't as good as we used to be. Now, we get to break these guys down, including me, and really show them how to do this, how to play special teams, how to play their position. I expect special teams to grow tremendously next year. I don't blame the coach. We had a lot of guys, and a lot of young guys. We messed up on a lot of small things last year on special teams, but I look for that to improve just because of this offseason."

On what he expects from OLB Paul Kruger this year: "I think Paul can do even more than what he did last year. A lot of people saw that Paul stepped his game up last year. Paul was like black and white to me. His rookie year, he was learning, but last year it was like this is what they saw in Paul. That's why they picked him up in the second round because Paul is that guy. I look for him and Albert [McClellan] to compete for that job. 'Double J' [Jarret Johnson], that's a big replacement. He was a big part of our defense, and I think a lot of guys would say that. With Paul and Albert coming in, they know their role. They know what they have to do to come in and take that spot. But, as [general manager/executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] recruits, he is always going to bring the next best thing in."

On his advice to the potential draftees from small schools: "Once you get in here, all the smalls schools, all the colleges, go out the door. Everybody has on some Ravens shorts and a Ravens shirt. Just come in and play ball. You will be equal once you get in. They won't look at you as a small-school guy anymore once you come in and just play with the rest of them."

On how much confidence helped his performance last year and will help him going forward: "Confidence is a big role playing DB, I think. If you have no confidence out there, you really can't play that position. Once you get that confidence, I think a lot of their swag – that's what they try to use, swagger – it steps up. Once you have that confidence on the island, you can just play ball freely and just go at it."

On if he still wants to be a returner, or if he would like to relinquish that role a little: "Yes, I would love to be a returner. But, just like Ed Reed, he earned that spot to where anytime he felt like he wanted to return a punt, he can go back there and just take it. I think I might have that now, where I don't have to do it all the time, but I think if we need a big return or we just need the ball, I can go back and grab it. I would love to be the punt returner full-time. I think that is my X-factor. [It] makes me a little different than the others. That's what made Deion Sanders so great, because he would return a kick and return a punt and return an interception to the house. That's what made him Deion Sanders. That's what might make me Lardarius Webb – returning punts and interceptions."

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