RAVENS OTA 3: INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS
Head Coach John Harbaugh, TE Nick Boyle, RB Kenneth Dixon, G/C Ryan Jensen & OLB Matthew Judon
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, good to see everybody. I really appreciate you guys being here – beautiful day, great practice. I appreciate the way the guys are working, the way the coaches are working. These practices are a little bit challenging, because you have to take care of one another out here more than ever, A) because of the rulebook, and B) because you want to do everything you can to not get tangled up. Our guys have done a great job of that, and I really appreciate the effort they have put into that. Along those lines, we had a couple injuries. Dennis' [Pitta] injury, obviously, was a disappointment. But, it was not something that wasn't possible. I think we all understood that; Dennis did. I just talked to [his wife] Mataya – just the family. Everybody kind of knew his situation going in. For him to get that year and play so well was probably something beyond expectations, and yet, we hoped for more. We thought we could get more. It was not meant to be; it was just running and reaching, and he had the incident. I do not really have too many details on it. I don't know exactly what the situation is, but I think he would be best to address that when the time comes. Tavon [Young] had a non-contact ACL [injury]. He had an interception [on the play], and he was playing great. He is going to have a tremendous future. He was playing at a high, high level. Just changing directions sometimes, that happens. He will work hard, he will have a lot of time to get back, and he will be stronger for that in the long run. We have some young guys who have to step up, and they are playing well. I am excited about the guys who are going to get an opportunity with that."
With those injuries and the types of those injuries, do you chalk it up to bad luck sometimes? Injuries like just happen sometimes?* (Jamison Hensley)*"I don't chalk it up to anything. I will say, 'God's will.' I'll chalk it up to that. I am not a luck guy, so much as a faith guy. I think things do happen for a reason, and every adversity is an opportunity, and you just make the most of it."
Do you have an update on WR/RS Michael Campanaro? (Jerry Coleman)"Yes, he has a sprained toe. Nothing has changed. He won't be … It was longer than through the minicamp; it was a few weeks injury."
Jeremy Maclin is here visiting you guys. Are there any news or updates?* (Callie Caplan)"Yes, we had a great visit with him. Jeremy got in last night and had dinner with [wide receivers coach] Bobby Engram and got with the guys to watch the [NBA] Finals. It was great; it was great the way it worked out, because he got a chance to know the players, which is one of the big factors, certainly. He was in here all morning into the early afternoon and getting to know us, us getting to know him. He is going to go back [home]; we didn't press him to stay. You give us way too much credit! *(laughter) (Reporter: "You didn't keep him from getting to the parking lot?") "No, no! I think talking to his wife is really important. He has a wedding this weekend, so he wants a little more time to make his decision. The main thing is you want guys to be happy. If they come here or wherever they go, you want them to look back and say, 'Hey, I made the best decision of my life to do that.' Well, he just got married, so second best decision of his life. That is what we are hoping for if he decides to come here."
Have you seen steady improvement and progression over these OTAs? (Todd Karpovich)"We have. Steady improvement, we are in a process here. Guys are adhering to it, and we have a lot of guys with great attitudes working absolutely as hard as they can. I see very little drag in what we are doing. Everybody is working hard. All of the guys that need to be working are working. It has just been good."
What have you seen from OLB Matthew Judon in his second year? (Ed Lee)"You want the second year Matthew Judon evaluation? Oh, the seeking, the coming-up Matthew Judon … I am looking for a great player out of Matt. I think he is going to be a great player. One thing about him is that he gives it everything he has. He works hard. He maxes out the weight room. He maxes out the practice field. He is into it in the meetings. He knows football. I am looking for a difference-maker-type of a defensive player."
With the loss of Dennis Pitta and a couple of other injuries with TE Benjamin Watson and TE Maxx Williams, do you feel like you have enough there going on? Yes, it is a loss, but do you feel you guys can pick it up at that position? (Jamison Hensley)"Absolutely. You want to have as many good players as you can, and that is why you do not want to lose anybody. But by the same token, we are deep there. Maxx has to get back, Ben has to get back, and the other two guys have to keep getting better. But we have four really good players there, and we will just work from there."
In light of the CB Tavon Young injury, do you like being able to bring in a guy like CB Brandon Boykin, who has some experience playing in the slot in the NFL? (Luke Jones)"We do. Brandon Boykin is kind of a proven pro in the slot. He has done it in two different places. Great guy to work with – a good player, really good. We also have other guys. We have young guys who we are excited about. That is what competition is all about."
I know you have spoken about Manchester before, but in light of the recent attacks on London, what is the extent of the concern about security or a possible threat when you guys go there in September? (Callie Caplan)"That is really a great question. It is certainly one that we have had. We have had those conversations; we are like everyone else. We will be making the trip. I just think it underscores the gratitude and the respect that we all absolutely have to have for those who protect us – the police and the military and all the people that work in those areas, whether it is intelligence or whatever it is that we don't know anything about, that we just say, 'You know what? They are going to do a great job for us.' They are going to be there for us, and they are going to have our back. We know that life isn't perfect, that nothing is guaranteed, but we are in that fight, too. We just have great appreciation for the military and the police, because they protect us. We need to do everything we can – and it underscores everything that is going on in our world, in England – [we need to do] everything we can to support their efforts and to have their back and to appreciate what they do."
How valuable is it for RB Kenneth Dixon to learn from guys like RB Terrance West and RB Danny Woodhead? (Ed Lee) "It has been really great for Kenneth to learn from Danny and even Terrance, like you say. He is a younger guy, but he is a good teacher. Kenneth is a sponge. He will do whatever you ask him to do as hard as he can. He listens and he learns and he gets better every day by leaps and bounds. I would put Terrance West in the same category. Although he is obviously more experienced, he has the same attitude. Danny Woodhead, he is a vet. He knows how to do things. I tell them, 'You watch him run a route and whatever that route is, just do it like he does it.' We can talk about all the coaching points we have, but pictures are worth 10,000 words. They have done science on that – it is not 1,000, it is 10,000. Does that put print journalism in jeopardy here? (laughter) Sorry about that. But, watch him do it, and he will show you how to do it."
I'm not asking you to speak for Dennis Pitta, but for yourself, when you have that conversation about moving forward, especially with a guy you have known for eight years now, on your part, how was that? (Morgan Adsit)"I have not spoken to him yet, because he has been in the hospital, and he has had some procedures done. I am looking forward to having that conversation, and it is going to be a tough conversation. We are friends. At least, that is how I see it. I had a text conversation with his awesome wife, and they are in a good place."
Alright, a hypothetical question: A steel cage match, you have the Ryans [Rob and Rex], the Grudens [Jon and Jay] and the Harbaughs [John and Jim]. Who walks out alive? Which brothers? (Jerry Coleman)"Do we have weight classes in this thing? (laughter) *I would never bet against the Harbaughs. I can tell you that right now. [I have] great respect for those two families and those guys; they are all tough guys. But I would not bet against the Harbaughs." *(Reporter: "I couldn't come up with another brother tandem.") "My question is, do you have a brother?" (Reporter: "Yes.") *Are the Colemans going to be in that? I want the Colemans in that cage!" *(laughter)
TE Nick Boyle
On how disappointing it was to see TE Dennis Pitta injure his hip:"That was hard. It was also hard for me to get through practice knowing how he got taken off and not knowing what happened to him until after practice. It is really sad. I really feel bad for Dennis. He has been a great friend to me, a great teammate, and overall, he is a really great guy. To see him persevere through everything that he has done, it is a lot to look at."
On TE Dennis Pitta's injury possibly providing Boyle with more opportunities:"Yes, unfortunately. That is not the way I wanted it to happen. He is a really good friend of mine, and like I said, I feel really bad for him. But, naturally – and it is out of your control – it will give you more opportunities on the field to do whatever – run, catch the ball, walk – whatever they need you to do. I will have more opportunities to do that."
On how much the reps he has received have helped him:"Yes, there were a lot of reps, especially the last few days when it was Crockett and I. What we are looking to do is just get the most out of the reps we are taking. Yes, you are going to get tired, and you want to make the most of your opportunities to show what you can do on the field. You get tired, but the trade-off is to show the coaches what you can do on the field in all phases of the game."
On if he sees himself being used any differently with former Ravens FB Kyle Juszczyk no longer being with Baltimore:"Yes, I think I can do it all. It is great. I feel comfortable playing in the backfield, going in motion, playing on the line, whatever it is. I think I can do all those things – blocking, catching the ball. Whatever they ask you to do, that is kind of what you want to go do. Whether it is block every time you are in there or run 100 routes, whatever they tell you to do, you come in and just go with it."
On how much more comfortable he feels expanding his role as a receiving threat:"Since coming here, I think I have improved a lot on my route running and everything. There is still a lot to improve on, which we see every day and I get reminded of, but is definitely night and day from my rookie season until this year. I feel a lot more comfortable."
On how he feels about the tight end group without TE Dennis Pitta: "I think it is a great group of guys – a really tight knit group. Everybody gets along really well in the room. Everyone is a really good player and brings a little bit different styles to the table, whatever it is. What is really good is that we can learn from each other. I can take someone's route running and combine it with whoever is pass blocking and just learn from each other. Everyone has great relationships in the room, and I am looking forward to going into camp with them."
RB Kenneth Dixon
On how OTAs are going:"OTAs are going really well. We have the same offense, so coming back in and kind of knowing the offense, knowing how we pick up the blitz and everything and coming back in with the guys has gone really well. Plays are going very well, and I am just loving football. I love to be back."
On the difference in the running schemes under senior offensive assistant/tight ends coach Greg Roman:"Yes, we have a lot of different running schemes. We are adding different ways we block it up and everything, but it is very downhill. I feel like all our running backs love it and our linemen can block it very well. We are all into it."
On if the running scheme is a big adjustment: "No, it is not big at all."
On how excited he is about the system change and what Greg Roman has brought: "Very excited. We have a lot of traps, read options in and everything like that. Coach Greg has done a very great job of getting us to learn the system and is doing a very great job of teaching all of the rookies to do it."
On what he has learned from working with RB Danny Woodhead: "I have learned how to be more patient in my routes, how to use my hands and break out. Me and Danny come up every morning at 6:30 a.m., and we lift together and sit in the sauna and talk about plays and everything. Danny has been a very great help to me."
On the difficulty in having to wait to play until Week 5 due to his NFL suspension:"It is going to be very difficult, but it is just something that I have to deal with. I have talked about it with my family, my friends, my teammates, my coaches, and we are ready to get past it, so we can get ready for Game 5. I am working really hard to come back strong."
G/C Ryan Jensen
On the opportunity at the center position:"It is a huge opportunity. I want to show that I can be guy that can go out there and lead that group on the field and become a quality starter there at the center position."
On what he did in the offseason to stay in shape:"I feel like the new strength and conditioning staff we have, along with some of the guys that were with the old one, fit really well with how I was doing my offseason conditioning when I was back in Colorado. I feel it has helped me stack on top of that and continue my growth."
On what new offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris has brought to the unit:"He has brought a lot of good stuff. He has brought a lot of new schemes for us to work on in the pass protection and stuff like that. He is a really good leader, and he is getting us all cohesive and getting us together."
On how different it is for the Ravens' offensive line adding senior offensive assistant/tight ends coach Greg Roman:"It is a little bit of a change. There are some similarities to last year's offense with the run game. Greg brings in a couple different schemes that will throw a little curveball at defenses."
On if he enjoys Greg Roman's downhill style:"Yes, definitely. Downhill football is the best kind of football."
If former Ravens C Jeremy Zuttah's departure puts pressure on him and G/C John Urschel:"I don't feel any pressure at all. I feel that I am ready, and I am confident to take that spot. I know it is going to be a good competition between me and John, and I am ready for that competition."
OLB Matthew Judon
On what feels different this year compared to last season:"I have a year under my belt. I am more comfortable out here. I know the system a lot more. I've done more studying, because I have had the playbook all offseason. A year really makes a difference."
On if he feels like the starting outside linebacker position is his job to lose:"That is up to the coaches. You have to ask them that. I am going to go out there and compete and make plays and show up every day on tape."
On if he focused on anything particular in the offseason:"Probably getting a little fat off of me. I slimmed down a little bit and [gained] more hip [flexibility], so I'll be able to be a more proficient pass rusher."
On if pass rushing is what he is focused on the most:"Oh, no. I want to be a complete player. I don't want to only come in on second-and-long and third down. I want to play all three downs."
On if a starting position is his aim:"I think every player in the NFL wants to start and go out there and show what they've got every down. Yes, I want to start. But, like I said, that is up to the coaches. They are going to put whoever is the best fit and whoever can win us the most games."
On how concerned he is about the security of the team in London:"I really cannot worry about that. I have to worry about Jacksonville; we play them in London. Hopefully, we have good security out there. If they say we can play, we are going to play."
On what he learned from his rookie season: "Don't get penalties on special teams. *(laughter) *Play hard every snap. You never know when it is your last snap, and just give it all you have. Just go out there and compete. You are in the NFL for a reason, so go out there and play."