Ravens Offseason Workout Transcripts

Head Strength & Conditioning Coach Steve Saunders

Opening statement: "First and foremost, we're just really happy to be back. It's been a long time since we've had players here for an offseason program. Really three years now; it's hard to believe. It's almost weird to have everybody here, but they're back. The guys are back. They're working hard. And really, it's just great to see everybody. Everybody is just ready to go and enthusiastic about attacking next season. So, we're just taking it day by day and going from there, working hard."

Is there a broad takeaway from last year with just the number of injuries that you stepped back and said, "Alright, how do we change our approach?" Obviously, injuries happen; it's part of the game, but the collective number was so large. How did you approach this offseason? (Pete Gilbert) "Well, it's part of football. I think you just have to re-evaluate everything, turn over every stone, and there are so many different aspects of that. I think you have to take the offseason, preseason and the whole season into account, and just say, 'OK, is there something we need to improve on? Is there something we need to tweak?' I think part of it is just being able to have the guys here, because we haven't been able to do that for three years. This is such a critical time for the players. One of my No. 1 philosophies is you can't make up for lost training time. Skipping something today, you can't make up for it tomorrow. Skipping a week, you can't make up for it a month from now. So, this is really a critical time of the year to lay the foundation for next season, and we haven't had that in a long time. Two years of Zoom, which was it was. It was great, [but] certainly not ideal when you're staring out into cyberspace. Last year, we really didn't have anything. So, I think we're just really excited to have everybody back."

So, what did you change? Anything as far as your program? (Shawn Stepner) "Philosophically, the program still stands on its own merits, but you make little tweaks. And we're going to say, 'OK, we don't know what these guys have been doing.' So, we'll take a little step back and say, 'OK, maybe spend a little more time in the evaluation process [and] add some other things to the program.' It's just little tweaks to say, 'OK, we're looking at when we report for training camp and working backwards from there, and just try to make them as good as they can be."

The trainer you brought in, head certified athletic trainer Adrian Dixon, what has he been able to add to you guys that you maybe were missing in years past? (Kevin Richardson) "Adrian [Dixon] is fantastic. Adrian has a really broad background of things that he's specialized in, specifically rehab. We haven't really gotten to see that much of it yet, obviously, because everything is just getting started, but I'm really excited to add Adrian to the organization. He's a great guy, a very sharp guy, and I think he's definitely a huge value add for us. He'll just be a great part of the team."

The fans see some of the photos and videos of what's happening, especially these first two weeks. What is kind of your focus? What are you looking … Especially these early first two weeks, what are you hoping to focus on? (Jamison Hensley) "I think, again, it's all foundational at this point. For me, the way the body produces energy, so working speed and power, and working some basic conditioning. We're starting off with some work-rest ratios now that just keep building over the next five weeks while we're allowed to run guys, then they continue through spring practice. So, if you don't lay that foundational work, as far as the running program, again, it's hard to make that up. Or when guys [who come] later, if you don't know what they've been doing on the outside, it's [saying], 'Hey, the other guys are going to be ahead of them.' It's the same thing with the strength program. For me, strength and rehab are really the same thing. We're looking at an athlete, and we're saying, 'What's wrong?' Not necessarily what's wrong, but [saying], 'What are their weaknesses? What needs improved? Looking at the structural balance of a guy, what does he need?' So, this is the time of year when we're really far out from the season, and we have time to really work on those individual nuances that everybody needs."

Did you feel like not having the conditioning program for the past two years did contribute to some of the preseason injuries? (Ryan Mink) "You never know what contributed to what, but it certainly wasn't a plus. So, for those talking about getting rid of the offseason program, I would completely disagree with that – it certainly isn't a good thing. But there's nothing we can do. It's out of our control. You just take it in, you adapt to it, and you go forward from there. But it's great to have everybody back in; it truly is."

You hear more and more about player tracking, movement data, GPS, Next Gen Stats, all of those things. How has that changed what you do in terms of, I guess, probably trying to individualize strength and conditioning programs for guys? (Luke Jones) "Yes, the GPS stuff is great for the offseason. For us to be able to measure speeds, and more importantly for me, when we work speed-power, I look at speeds, but I really look at drop-offs. And everybody's drop-offs are different. So, you can say, 'OK, we're hitting this speed. But this guy has a 7% drop-off after three reps or a 10% drop-off after four reps.' So, then you say, 'OK, this guy is ahead of this guy, conditioning-wise, speed-wise, power-wise.' [It's] the same thing with some of the lactic training that we do. So, I personally feel like some of that is even more important in the offseason than in-season, because I think in-season, when you look at some of the data you get, [you say], 'Is it yard to yard?' It depends. Everybody is built a little bit differently. Some guys are more fast twitch, medium twitch, slower twitch, but here, it's really true data as far as the work they are getting done. It's good; you just have to know how to interpret everything."

A couple important guys on this team are coming back from ACL injuries. In the past five or 10 years or so, how much … How many leaps have rehab and reconstruction made to the point where it's a much safer bet now than it used to be? (Jonas Shaffer) "I think ACL, certainly the procedure itself, but certainly the rehab protocols have changed dramatically over 10-20 years. I think we just know more about it. You know better how to rehab it. You also know that sometimes, the time isn't the time. It can take longer, and some guys will adapt shorter; it depends on the work they've had done. It definitely … The guys, I feel like, today definitely have a much higher percentage of returning to normal after an ACL [injury] than they did 20 years ago, which is a great thing."

Steve, you talked about the last few years and that the offseason training hasn't been the same, guys haven't been able to be here. What have you seen from them since they've been back in the building from an energy perspective and just from attacking the routine? (Cordell Woodland) "They're excited to be back, too. Just seeing the guys, the camaraderie between the guys, new guys added to the equation, I think everybody is happy to be back. Just that 'can do' attitude, just rolling up their sleeves and getting after it, it's just awesome to see. You have a team that wants to win next year, and you can see that in the work ethic with the guys showing up."

We saw RB Gus Edwards taking part in it. I'm not sure if RB J.K. Dobbins was too, but as far as guys coming back from those ACL [injuries], how do they look so far? Are they where you hoped they would be at this point? (Pete Gilbert) "That's really a question for the medical staff, as far as that. I can just say physically, everybody has a positive attitude, and they seem great."

After a season like last year … Head coach John Harbaugh mentioned that when the season ended, he met with you and your staff for four hours to talk about everything. How important is it … Or what kind of fine line is it between not wanting to overreact to a season like last year, knowing injuries are going to happen and so is bad luck, while sticking to what you guys have done and what you've done best over recent years? (Jeff Zrebiec) "[Head coach] John [Harbaugh] is great at that. John has a vision, and he just takes it all in. He's really good about [saying], 'Hey, we don't want to overreact, but we're not going to minimize it either.' I applaud him for that. Everybody knows football is physical, but that doesn't excuse anything. You should still look and see if there's something we can tweak or something we can do better. We sat down, and we had a long talk about everything, from training, to rehab, to practice, and it was really productive. I think we'll just make a couple tweaks, and we'll go from there."

Do you find that you have to sell some players on the program again at the beginning of each offseason or sort of re-explain things? Do you have work to sort of get buy-in, especially after a difficult year with injuries? (Childs Walker) "I think any good coach does, and I don't think it's dependent on injuries or anything else. I think if you're a good coach, and you're dealing with grown men, you have to tell them the 'whys' – why am I doing this? One of the things that we always want is anything they do in the weight room should transfer to the field. So, if you're going to have them do a band exercise, or this other exercise, or this shoulder exercise, you have to be prepared, I feel like, if it's a part of your program to explain the 'whys' to them. It's a huge part of any coach, but especially a strength coach. You can't just throw crap against the wall; if you're going to do something, it better have a 'why' to it. So, the answer to your question is, yes, you're always looking for buy-in, but that's just really [saying], 'Hey, this is why we're doing what we're doing.' These guys are great athletes and great guys – they get it."

WR Rashod Bateman

On his thoughts on the new movie, The Batman: "Of course, I'm going to think it's a 10 out of 10. You know, it's my movie. I directed it. I played in it. (laughter) It was good. But I definitely would say 10 out of 10 – I love those movies. So, I definitely loved it a lot."

On how important it's been to work with QB Lamar Jackson this offseason after not having a lot of time on the field together last year: "It's definitely been really important. Like you said, with the injury and missing time, so getting that chemistry back with 'L' [Lamar Jackson] has definitely been important. So, working out with him was definitely a plus. Getting in shape [and] running some routes, it definitely felt good to connect with him."

On how different he feels going into Year Two: "I do feel comfortable. The NFL was a big mental step for me. So, just being here now, I feel way more comfortable [and] way more relaxed. I know what to expect. I know how to move. So, I'm just excited for Year Two. I'm excited to be healthy. I'm excited to do the things I know I can do."

On what his biggest takeaway from last season was: "I would just say be prepared when your time is called. I feel like last year, there were a lot of scenarios where us, the Ravens, were put in situations where the next guy had to step up and perform. I think we did that when we needed [to]. So, just being able to stay ready at all times. No matter if you're a starter, practice squad, or whoever we bring in, just being able to be ready when your number is called."

On how beneficial it is for the offseason program to be back in person, especially for a young player: "I would definitely say it's very important, being able to interact face-to-face and get that full dialogue with your coaches and staff. You're not having to sniff around and see what everyone is saying and what they're doing. Being able to just walk in the facility, knowing that you're just going into work every day with no complications is definitely a blessing."

On how many times he worked with QB Lamar Jackson this offseason and how QB Lamar Jackson is feeling: "Lamar [Jackson] is phenomenal, as always. He's doing good. I'm excited for him and excited for his future. But we did get together a couple of time to get some work in, and we just left it at that. Workouts, getting better, that's all we can focus on."

On how much his groin injury affected him missing time in training camp and the regular season: "I would definitely say it affected me a lot, but I have a great staff here. It's a good family around me. So, being able to have them here, and my family as well, being able to get through that time was definitely special to have them by my side. They made it easy for me, but I would say it was still tough at the same time, because it was my first injury. I had never missed a practice. I had never missed a game before. So, I definitely had to get used to that."

On why he changed his jersey number to No. 7: "When I first got here … I like to always play for something bigger than myself. With No. 12, there was really not too much I could connect with, but coming back this year, I wanted to make a change in all areas of my life. I'm really close with my mom, as you guys know, and her favorite number is [No.] 7. So, it was an easy decision for me."

On what fans can expect differently from him going into Year Two: "You know, I'm just going to keep that here. I don't want to say this and that, what I'm going to do, but just know that you guys have a hard worker. I'm going to come here every single day – that's why I'm here now. I want this organization to know that I'm here to work, and I owe them that. So, I'm ready to see what I can do for them and see what they can do for me."

On if he's going to be paying close attention to the 2022 NFL Draft: "Yes, I definitely will. I'm a Raven, so I will definitely be tuned in. I'll be at the Draft Party at M&T Bank Stadium. So, I'll definitely be there, seeing who we're going to bring in."

On how the workouts with QB Lamar Jackson came about: "It was a mutual thing. It was something that we already talked about before the season had already ended. We had already planned to get together this offseason. James Proche [II], Binjimen Victor and those guys came out there and worked out. It was something that was already pre-communicated. So, we all just found a time that worked for us and made it work."

LB Josh Bynes

On how it feels to be in the building during the spring and not have to join during the middle of a season: "It feels great, of course. I like the family time a little bit in the offseason, but it's all good. I feel great, and it's great being back with the guys and just hanging out here. It's been a ride, but I love to be here now, versus having to show up later in the season, which I've done in the past. So, it feels really good to be here right now."

On if he always thought he would end up re-signing with Baltimore: "Oh, yes. I definitely wanted to be here, and that was just the whole idea, of course, towards the end of the season and obviously the free agency process – just to be here and everything like that. We obviously know how free agency goes, and it is what it is. I had opportunities with other teams, and I talked to other teams at the same time, but obviously this is home for me, and this is where I want to be at. So, it feels great to be back here and at a place that knows me inside and out and has [given] me numerous opportunities over the years. Obviously, I'm looking forward to giving that back each and every year going forward."

On why he elected to participate in optional workouts: "Just being with the guys – I love this. Being with the guys, hanging with the fellas and obviously getting a start on the playbook and getting the idea of the foundation that we're setting and everything like that, because obviously we didn't end the season the right way, the way we wanted to at all, losing six straight games and five out of six by 10 points [or less] if I remember correctly – something like that. So, obviously it's about seeking revenge, at the end of the day. We're coming out with vengeance this year. We're trying to get back to it and get to work and show what the Ravens are really about and take over the AFC North."

On defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald: "[Defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald], he was my linebackers coach in 2019 – the season when I came back here – so Mike knows this place really, really well. He knows the foundation, and Mike is setting the tone right now in these meetings that we're having with the defense and what he [envisions] for us. I love Mike to death, and I can't wait to actually, finally get out there and get going with everybody and just having fun. But Mike is definitely a great, great defensive coordinator – a genius in the room. Like I said, he was my linebackers coach, and I know what he brings to the table through and through, and I'm glad for him to be a Raven."

On the tone that defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald has been setting: "What I'm just saying is just setting the foundation, because we obviously didn't finish the right way, where we wanted on defense. We have a lot of expectations in how we wanted to handle things, and obviously, Mike, right now, he's setting the foundation on what he [envisions] and how he wants to eliminate some of those things that we didn't do great at the end of the season last year. And obviously it takes everybody being in the building and us being in the meeting rooms and the camaraderie, and that's what this part is for. I'm just really, really excited and can't wait to get this whole thing going, especially minicamp. That's what matters – the minicamp."

On some of the twists that he's seen in the defensive playbook under defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald: "There's some stuff. I don't want to go into details. You know how this thing goes – everybody uses everything to gain an inch against you. But there's some similarities here and there, but [defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald] has his own spin on it, and [I'm] looking forward to it this season."

On what stands out to him about the Ravens' offseason program and any differences he's noticed in it: "Just really taking it one day at a time and really just building it up layer by layer, and I think [head strength & conditioning coach] Steve [Saunders] and his staff are doing an amazing job right now, getting after it this week. Obviously, we're going to work; obviously, I hope the guys [have] been working, and obviously you could tell guys have been actually working this offseason, as well, preparing themselves for this year. And they're taking their time, also building day by day and layer on top of layer, instead of sometimes, I guess – I'm not necessarily speaking [about] here; just in general – going head first right into it. You don't want to do that and tear guys down. Especially [for] a guy like me, who's been playing for a long time, you want to build those layers up. So, at the end of the day, we love this part, but we also want to be ready for the real goal – obviously, training camp, but really, you want to be ready for the season, because that's what we all get paid for, right?"

On if the Draft still feels important to him and if he's excited to see what incoming rookies can do: "Oh, yes – of course. You want to see what the young guys can do, and what we bring in, and how they can impact this team. That's what the Draft is for – those young guys coming in, and whatever role that may be for them, whenever they get a chance to come in, to see what they can bring to the table, and how they can be a part of what we've built here, shoot, since 1996, as being a part of the Baltimore Ravens, and how they can continue to layer that foundation defensively, offensively. It's just looking forward to having those young guys and seeing what they bring to the table and make us that much better. I think that's what the Draft is all about, and I obviously can't wait to see who we bring in and see what they bring to the table come OTAs, minicamp, all that."

On the growth he's seen in the younger linebackers like Patrick Queen, Malik Harrison and Kristian Welch: "I mean, we've only had three days together, but right now we're just in the meetings, and we're just trying to make sure that we're all on the same page – communication, alignment, assignment, technique – all those things that 'Harbs' [head coach John Harbaugh] preaches each and every time he's up here and in meetings and everything like that. And [for] those young guys right now, that's what we're doing. We're in the meeting room with [inside linebackers coach] Zach [Orr], who's actually my former teammate, and going through those basic, foundational things that make sure … Obviously, when we start adding on a little, layer by layer, it now is like, 'OK, I got this done; let's go to Grade Two. Boom, boom; let's get this done.' And now, all of a sudden, you've built that foundation. This is a great time for them right now, especially being in OTAs and stuff, to accelerate that learning process, so come the season it's all, (snaps fingers)'It's time to go.'"

On if he had any input in some of the upcoming changes that could be implemented to OTAs and practices that Coach Harbaugh alluded to and if he's seen or would welcome those changes: "Right now … At least the approach right now – how we're doing it in the weight room and the on-the-field stuff – that has been different so far, as far as in in the past [and] how it used to be and how [head strength & conditioning coach] Steve [Saunders] and them are doing that. It's really, really amazing right now. That's all for right now, but at least in the classroom approach, like I said, we're going back to the fundamentals and things like that, especially teaching and learning, because that's what this process is for. It's not to give you the playbook and say, 'Hey, here you go; 20 plays, go learn it, and we're going to have a quiz on Friday or Thursday, rather.' That's just not going to really teach [you] or get you to learn anything. It's all about fundamentals – 'In this coverage, what's this alignment? What's the key? What's your drop? What's this? What's that?' – and those basic things to help eliminate the gray area sometimes in certain situations or in the game, where it's more like, 'Alright, let's build this …' Like I said, the foundation, the easy, peasy … 'Hey, this is, whatever coverage it is, where you're lined, where you go, what's communication, what's the technique.' And then let's go from there. 'Alright, can we add in a little here, throw a little wrench in there? Can you catch it? OK, cool. Alright, let's throw another little one. Let's throw the whole thing like we're in …' What's the movie called?" (Reporters: "Dodgeball.")"Dodgeball. (laughter)That's why this is great – to build that foundation, especially for a lot of younger guys who haven't had enough time in this league. It was tough for those guys, too, [in] 2020 and all that. The younger guys, they had 2020 off, and 2021, it was a lot for those young guys, so hopefully this year just continues to build from there."

On the biggest change that he's seen over the last two days: "The biggest change? There haven't been … It's only been a couple days. It's too early to really see the true, true, big, big, big changes right now, because like I said, it's only our third day really getting after it together and stuff. So, I feel like that question will come along down the line – weeks or months away – to see what the deep, deep changes really have been. But at least starting right now, those have been the changes I can think of."

On his relationship with his former teammate and current inside linebackers coach Zach Orr: "Technically, I'm older than him, right? (laughter)But actually, I don't know … It's kind of cool, though. We talk about old days and stuff. He came in 2014, I think it was, with C.J. Mosley, and everything like that, and it's just crazy to see that. Torrey [Smith] actually tweeted something the other day; what did he say? He brought up [that I] was going into Year 12, and he said … Oh, I retweeted it. Something [about] against all odds, pretty much. And it's just crazy, because, like I said, I was undrafted and blah, blah, blah; [inside linebackers coach] Zach [Orr] was undrafted, and we've got that in common. But to be still playing … And obviously, he had his unfortunate [injury], but obviously Zach was a hell of a player when he was playing, as well. But it's just crazy that I'm on that part where I'm still playing and now my peers and coaches, they're like, 'Oh, you're still playing?' [I'm like,] 'Yes, I'm still playing. I love this game to still be playing. But dang, you're my coach; it's kind of weird. But hey, we're cool, though.'" (laughter)

On if he's pulled his seniority card with inside linebackers coach Zach Orr: "See, look, I tried to the other day. We were in a meeting, and [pass game coordinator/secondary] Coach Chris [Hewitt] came in, and I was like, 'Oh, y'all done with your meetings?' It was like, whatever, maybe 15 minutes prior – whatever. And then I was like, 'Oh, OK, alright, y'all done already.' I said, 'Chris, y'all done?' He was like, 'Yes, we're done, we're done.' I was like, 'OK, Zach. You good?' And he was like, 'Yeah, yeah, we're good,' and he still kept talking. I was trying to throw an alley-oop, like, 'We're good,' like, 'Let's go. They're done; let's be done, too,' but he didn't get that. It's only [been] a couple days; maybe we'll get there. Maybe he'll get my little alley-oops one of these days, but right now it's just … He's Coach Zach; it's kind of … I call him that every once in a while to mess with him."

DT Justin Madubuike

On his thoughts of the strength and conditioning program so far: "It's going pretty well. This is Day Three, and it's going pretty well. It's just great to be back, great to create this foundational chemistry with the team, and just seeing everybody's faces, really. It's great."

On if he's noticed any changes from last year with the strength and conditioning program: "Not really. In the front of the whole facility, all of that little COVID-[19] stuff is gone. (laughter) But outside of that, no, just the same mentality. We're back to work, back to building the foundation, and just starting the right way."

On what it means to have DT Calais Campbell back on the team: "I'm excited. That's the big 'bro.' I'm just grateful. Just another year of learning from him, and another year of just being great with him, and on this journey to get to the Super Bowl – that's the main goal. So, it's great to have a guy like that in your corner."

On the difference between the virtual offseason program last year as opposed to being back in person now: "Virtual is just … You didn't see people face-to-face. It was just kind of … You didn't really hear what people said. In-person is way better. Everybody is more on the same page [and] on board. So, I'll just say in-person is, obviously, better. And just being able to do things actively with your teammates, and building that chemistry is the best."

On how he viewed his individual performance last season: "I feel like last year I took a step [forward] from the rookie year, but I feel like I have a lot more to prove. I have a lot more to do, and I feel like I didn't even peak yet, and I feel like I can be great. So, I just need to keep working and keep fiending for energy, and fiending for greatness, and habitual stuff to make sure I'm on the right track to get there.

On how much of a goal it is for him to increase his sack totals this year: "For sure, that's one thing I want to work on this offseason – my footwork, my core, my pass-rush game, and just learning how to get better at that. I'll be reaching out and going to meet with some people this offseason and see if I can find the ways to make sure I perfect that craft or get better at it."

On if he'll be working with former or current players, or pass-rush coaches this offseason: "Anybody, really, that can help me. Definitely my teammates, maybe former teammates, guys that I know in the league and stuff like that – just to get better, just to build that energy."

On if he worked with Rams DT Aaron Donald recently: "I was up in Pittsburgh, yes. I was doing some footwork with him. He's cool and [he's] a great guy. I definitely just want to be around that energy to be great and just to learn from people who are great, too.

On if he looks at Rams DT Aaron Donald and hopes to achieve similar success one day: "It just reiterates to me just the hard work aspect. Just being able to work hard, it's a day-to-day process. It's not easy, but if it was easy, everybody would do it. So, you have to put yourself in that mental aspect and attack it. That's what I learned from him."

LB Patrick Queen

On how it feels to be back in the building and have something that feels more normal: "It just gives more motivation – just being around all your teammates and stuff. I've been working for a long time now, and just to be able to come in here and seeing everybody still in shape and everybody competing while we're working out. So, it's good to be back."

On if he's watched his own film from last year and his evaluation of it: "Yes, I watched a lot, and the bad spots were bad, and the good spots were great. So, [I'm] just trying to build off what I was finishing on and just trying to be better. Every aspect of my game needs to get better, so that's all I'm doing right now – is just taking the time to look at all the keys that I could get better at."

On where he thinks he's shown the most growth and where he really wants to improve: "I feel like the best thing I did was get off blocks and recognize some plays better. And just to improve on – just everything, really. I can't really limit it to one thing. Maybe just like finding the ball from the quarterback, who he's throwing to and stuff like that. I feel like that could probably be better, but other than that, I feel like it's everything that I need to get better at."

On where he feels most comfortable playing on the field: "I really feel comfortable anywhere. I played both [linebacker spots], so now I've got the experience from both positions. So, just being able to know both positions and have that knowledge, I feel like I could play whatever, so it's whatever for me."

On defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald: "That's my guy. Obviously, he was here [my] rookie year, and we had a very good relationship – him and [inside linebackers coach] Zach Orr. So, just having those two guys back, I've got a coach that trusts in me, a coach that really understands the game and is going to give me feedback on what I need to be doing right and what I was doing wrong. So, I'm really excited to have [defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald] and 'Z.O.' [Zach Orr] back."

On any changes he's noticed in the way the team is training: "Yes, the training, the workouts have been phenomenal. Just the velocity that we're getting on the pad or whatever you want to call it, we're seeing those things. And just knowing the workouts have changed and they're better, people are getting active. There's a lot of competing in the workouts now, and obviously, whenever we get to practice and stuff, we'll see how the practices are."

On how much his strong close last season adds to his excitement level entering Year Three: "A lot. That's what I live for – big plays. So, it's just a point of making every play a big play. If that means just holding my gap or just the right drop to help out somebody else make a big play, that's a big play. So, in general, I'm trying to be all around this year."

On CB Derek Stingley Jr.: "Derek [Stingley Jr.] was different the day he came in. He came in early, while we were practicing for the Bowl Game my sophomore year, and he came in and practiced, and he was going up against Ja'Marr [Chase] and those guys, and he was balling then. So, when he got there freshman year, truly, you could see it. Every day at practice he was going up against Ja'Marr and 'J.J.' [Justin Jefferson], just locking them down. So, I probably knew he was like that [since] the Auburn pick, where he like turned his head three different times and found the ball; best play I've ever seen in my life. So, if he falls to us, I'll be so happy."

On if he can tell the difference in having a coach who's played the game at a high level, like inside linebackers coach Zach Orr: "You can, because, like you said, [inside linebackers coach] Zach [Orr] played, and he was at a Pro Bowl level. So, just him being in the game and knowing what we're seeing and the feedback that we get from him, we'll be able to understand more, and we can actually tell him stuff that we're seeing, and he'll be able to help us out. So, just him actually being a player is going to help a lot."

On how motivated he is to make sure a season like 2021 doesn't happen again, given the limited span of a typical NFL career: "It's Year Three. It flew by. It's already Year Three. Just the experience, just getting older, getting more mature and realizing things, time flies, so I'm just trying to take advantage of everything. Like I said, I took like two weeks off and just got back to work. This year opened my eyes up a lot, so I'm ready now."

On if he'd like some big bodies in front of him, should there be an opportunity for the Ravens to draft a guy fitting that mold: "I would, I would, I would. I've been seeing a lot of stuff about the guy from Georgia and stuff. Whatever they take I'm fine with. As long as we win, I don't care."

On if he's gotten lighter, heavier or maintained his weight: "I've maintained. So, the goal is … I finished the season around 235 [pounds], so I'm maintaining right now. The goal is to get to camp around 235, 230 and being able to fluctuate my weight whenever I want to."

On how much of a difference it makes to be in person, versus being virtual: "It's a lot better. Virtual, you're just, 'Ugh, I've got to get on Zoom, and I've got to do all the log-in and stuff.' Then you've got to workout at home and stuff, so it sucks, but I mean we did the best that we could. But now being back and actually able to do stuff with your teammates, it actually builds chemistry now."

On how challenging it was to see some of his teammates go down with injuries last year: "I mean, it's tough. Everybody knows it's tough. You go from Marcus Peters … Not saying anything [bad] about a guy, but you go from an All-Pro cornerback to somebody else, and you know it's not the same. Nobody is Marcus Peters; nobody is Marlon Humphrey or the other guys that got hurt. So, it's definitely tough, but at the end of the day you can't cry about it in the season; you've just got to go back to work and try to get better."

On if he does anything unique to avoid injuries and maintain physical health: "I sleep all day when I'm not working out. (laughter)That's about it. Just taking care of my body. Just not trying to do all that extra stuff – partying and all that stuff. Just being to myself, fishing after I work out or whatever, maybe. So, I'm really just a laidback person. I don't really do too much."

FB Patrick Ricard

On how good it feels to be back in person for the offseason workouts: "It feels good. The last two years were definitely really weird. We were just at home on Zoom, trying to communicate and get that chemistry with your coaches and all the guys. For me, I think it's really good this year, because personally, I have a new position coach. So, it's nice to be in the room with him and kind of understand who he is as a person. On top of that, I just love working out here and being here. It's a great facility. On top of that, you're just with the guys. It's a great time, and we've had a really good past couple of days. So, it's been good so far."

On if he took any time off since the season ended: "Yes, I did." (Reporter: "How much time did you give yourself between the end of the season and then starting to get ready for 2022?")"So, for me, personally, the last two years with COVID in 2020 and last offseason, I had my hip surgery, I didn't get to travel too much. So, this past offseason, me and my wife really wanted to travel, so we did. We got some traveling in. Me personally, I mean, I just tried to take some time off to make sure my injuries were recovering the right way, and I slowly started building up. I started doing body weight stuff, stretching, and then I slowly start getting my workouts in. I always follow [head strength and conditioning coach] Steve Saunders' workout program, building myself up until this point. So, I feel good right now."

On if there was a point in the free agency process that he thought he wouldn't come back to the Ravens: "Yes, I mean … This was my first time being a free agent. It was kind of … There were a lot of unknowns. We had some negotiations [in] the middle of the season, but we just didn't get anything done. At that point, I was like, I don't know if it's a possibility of me coming back, in terms of either just … I'm not sure why, but I'm just really happy we were able to get something done. I'm very excited to be back here."

On if he's noticed any changes to the offseason program: "I definitely see some changes. I think our warmup is more broken down. We're stretching more. We're doing a little bit more for flexibility and just overall mechanics of warming up. I also think our workouts are still very good work. I think it's what we need, and I think it's also a little bit of less reps. I always remembered we always started out with reps of a range of 10 to 12, and now we're starting out with eight to 10. So, I think they're trying to tone it down a little bit and make sure that we're really just getting into the groove of things and not really shocking the body too much. I'm excited to see how OTAs and practices really start and how that schedule changes, and then training camp itself. I know in the training room, there have been a lot of positive changes. [I was] talking to some of the massage [therapists] that were here two years ago. They work on me at my house and stuff, and they said they're coming back here for seven days a week they'll be here. That was the first thing I had even heard about, so I'm excited for all the changes to come."

On what the feeling in the locker room is on how the offseason program is changing: "I think it means that you can believe in the process more. You can believe in what we're doing, because you know that the coaches and the organization is trying their best to take care of us. So, I think that just means that we get to work as hard as we can and not double-guess or double-think what we're doing, because they are conscious of the injuries that we've had. In my opinion, you can't do the same things over and over again and get a different result – you're just going to be insane. So, I think it's good that we're recognizing the injuries and we're trying to do things to prevent it in the future."

On if the number of injuries last season stick with the team: "You can think about it, but at the end of the day, it's in the past. It's a new year, and I think that everyone is trying to correct any mistakes that we may have had that maybe added to the injuries, but injuries can be a million things. You don't know. I just think sometimes, we had some bad luck, or whatever it is. I think it's good that we are trying to address it."

On working with tight ends coach George Godsey: "I think it's been good. For me, personally, I didn't play offense in college. So, for me, coming here and getting different coaches, this is my third tight end coach now. No … [This is my] third or fourth [tight ends coach] now. So, it's just good to get a different perspective and different knowledge of the game to where I can learn from him and really grow as a player. I think guys are, so far, liking what he's been saying to us. It's only been a couple days. So, I'm excited to get on the field with him and see how he is on the field."

On if the injury that placed him on season-ending injured reserve just needed some time off to get back to 100%: "Yes. As soon as the season ended, I just rehabbed and just rested. I was able to participate in the Pro Bowl. Ever since then, I've been back home in Massachusetts rehabbing, working out. I've been full-go here, and I feel good. I'm excited to really start practicing with the guys and see how I feel then."

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