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Ravens OTA Transcripts (5/19)

Opening statement:"We had a good practice. I thought we got better. Guys worked hard. It wasn't anything fancy, just football practice. It was fun to be out here."

On if practice was crisp today:"I think you could characterize, really, the whole offseason so far as being crisp, if that's the word that you use. We've had good practices, with the mini-camps last week, even football school before that, and then two practices here so far in the first two OTAs. We've been pretty sharp. The guys, Jarret Johnson was just commenting on that, the guys know how to practice. They know where to be, how to do it, what the tempo is, what the expectations are, and they just groove right in, and they did a nice job."

On the turnout for a voluntary passing camp:"I think it's good. Obviously, it's exciting, the fact that guys want to be here, but it's not surprising. Our players love football. They're a bunch of guys that love ball. They're competing with one another. There's loud talk out there, they're getting after Hue [Jackson] a little bit on defense, so that's fun. But, there will be situations when guys can't be here, too. They've got things coming up in their life. We kind of expect everybody here every day, but I think our guys want to be here. They want to be a part of what we're doing, because they like football."

On if WR Derrick Mason's absence was health related:"Derrick was here. Derrick was doing rehab, lifting and conditioning. So, Derrick's program right now is more geared toward the mental part of football, the rehab, the lifting and conditioning. We've worked out a plan between the offensive coaches, the trainer and the strength and conditioning coach to get Derrick where he needs to be. Now, if he was fully healthy, he'd be out here. He wants to play football. But I think it's more of a situation where we can do more work with him inside, and that's what we want to do right now. Maybe he'll show up toward the end; we'll see how he does."

On if TE Todd Heap has back issues:"It's a lower back deal right now. And I don't know all the terms for exactly what it is, but there are some issues with the lower back that he's got to work through, strengthen and heal. So, that's where he's at. He's not as far along as we all thought he would be. I think he thought he would be, so we've just got to work through it."

On if was surprised that T Willie Anderson retired:"I probably was surprised that it was a retirement announcement, that it started going that way, because Willie, he's a competitor, and he would not want to not play football this year. But he talked to us about the fact that he'd work out, and then he'd be jacked up with his knee and his foot for the next two or three days. So, it's hard for him to get the kind of conditioning, the kind of shape that he wants to get in, the kind of player he has been accustomed to being over the years. I was fascinated by the whole thing. I don't want to talk out of school at all, but Ozzie [Newsome], and we were sitting in there, it was Ozzie and myself and Willie, and I'm watching Ozzie and Willie have this conversation, that as I look around, I don't think any of us have ever been a part of – two world-class athletes who've had the kind of careers they've had, talking about what it means to retire. And Ozzie, being able to share that insight with Willie, it was fascinating."

On the progression of rookie T Michael Oher:"Michael has done a nice job so far. He's got a lot to learn, but you see him make progress from one day to the next. Jarret Johnson, yesterday, had his way with him a little bit the because Michael was a little heavy with his hands, got a little over-steady. That's OK. You like a young guy to be getting after people, trying to punch people. Today, he got his weight back a little bit, got down, was still punching. He makes adjustments quickly."

On what he sees in the backup quarterbacks:"In the first mini-camp, actually, Troy [Smith] and John [Beck] had a better completion percentage than Joe [Flacco]. So, that's competition right there. It's a little challenge to Joe. Now, they threw more interceptions, too, so that's a plus on Joe's side. But they're all pushing one another and they're playing well. Troy's throwing the ball very well. He's come a long way the last year as a passer. He's an NFL-caliber passer. John is starting to work his way in. I think he's a few weeks behind those guys, because he wasn't in all our offseason program. But he'll close the gap and he'll be right in the mix there with those guys."

On risks that WR Demetrius Williams and other players might encounter when working through their injuries:"I think that's a great point. He's been so concentrating on getting the Achilles thing worked out, he hasn't been able to do the kind of running that that kind of an athlete needs to do to have everything else in shape. So we're going to have to work through that. There are going to be groins, hip flexors, hamstrings, calves, that are going to come up, and you're going to have to push through it, but not overdo it. So we're trying to push him as much as we can, strengthen all those things up, bring it back as fast as we can. Probably him more than anybody else is going to have to have a great four weeks between when we finish up with these passing camps and when we come back for training camp. That's going to be really important for him. If not, he's going to come back, and he's going to have a lot of pulls."

On the possibility that there could be changes between now and Sept. 13 with the room left in the salary cap:"Are you referring to new players? Yeah, you're right, we're going to try to find new players. Flat out, we're always going to try to find better players. The best way we can get better, because we have good players, is to make our guys better, and develop our young players and make sure our older guys are healthy, and grow them. You talk about Todd [Heap]… That's an important part of it. L.J. Smith is going to be important to that. Demetrius, obviously, coming into his own is critical. Mason, [Mark] Clayton, playing at a high level, Joe's progress… But if we can find another receiver out there, or a tight end, or an offensive lineman, or a kicker, or anybody else, we'll bring them in if we think they can make us better."

On if the passing camp is as important for the defense as the offense:"Yeah, you've got to defend the pass. We call it a passing camp, but there are still plenty of runs out there being run. It's really a football camp, but it's just not training camp. It's in shorts; there's not real contact. There's no real competitive one-on-one type stuff, which is the way it should be. But it still gets competitive, in a way, within the rules. I think we're getting a lot done."

On if WR Kelley Washington's role on the team will be more as a third receiver or on special teams:"You don't want to ever put limitations on a guy. I think an opportunity for Kelley to be here working with our coaches and with Joe, you never know what kind of receiver he's going to emerge into, or blossom into. One good thing about him, he doesn't have a lot of wear and tear on his body, so that's a good thing. He is a young 29 [years old]. You'd hope he could be a third receiver, and be a core special teams guy, one of the core special teams guys. The only way that he's going to make [it], whatever that role is – if he's the first receiver, if he's the fifth receiver, if he's playing teams and he's playing well. That's what our hopes are. We have high hopes for Kelley."

On his first encounter with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron:"The first time we crossed paths was when Cam was coaching Jim [Harbaugh] at Michigan, and I was coaching at Western Michigan, I believe… No, no, I was coaching at Cincinnati. That's how long ago it was. And we went up there, Craig Ver Steeg, as a matter of fact, was one of our coaches, and we went up there and Cam cliniced us on attacking Cover-2. I just remember being impressed. But then again, I remember being impressed again this morning when I watched the offensive meeting. He did a great job. He's just a great coach."

On what makes Cameron a great coach:"I think Cam's fundamental value system as football coach is right on, spot on. He talks about developing guys to their full potential. He's really demanding and challenging, and he's a great teacher. He talks about being a great team, great offense, and then also a great individual football player. And he's got a way with words, I'm sure the players will tell you. He can do it in a way that's not threatening, but the needle is out pretty good. He can challenge guys to be the best."

On the balance between being a tough vs. nurturing coach:"All coaches, all good coaches have a nurturing side. So even Cam has a nurturing side."

On if he feels like a veteran in his second offseason of camps:"I felt like a veteran last year, once I figured out where to stand. It's exciting to see. We're building something, OK? We're building a football team and all the components that go into that. I'm really excited to see… And who knows where we're going to go? There are no predictions, we're not trying to make any comparisons. We don't know what we're going to be, but it's nice to see how fast we're getting wherever we're going. I see a bunch of guys, you hear them right now in the weight room, a bunch of guys tuned in, working hard, know what to do, know what's expected. We've got a chance to become something special. We've just got to see if we can get it done."

On if the team is ahead of schedule or if it's too premature to say:"We don't make schedules like that. You've just got to take it as it comes, day-to-day. You see where you're at, and you try to get better from one day to the next. But, we're doing well."

On any impressions of RB Cedric Peerman:"Cedric, first of all, works at it. [He's a] really hard worker, and a game-plan guy, hard worker on the practice field. He's got exceptional straight-line speed, tremendous burst. He's not afraid to put his face into it."

On his thoughts about the upcoming '09 season: "We can do some big things. Going into any season, I am willing to do whatever it takes to help this team win ball games. Whatever coach [John Harbaugh] needs, I got him. Whether it's a first down or a big play, I got it."

On his thoughts about fellow wide receiver WR Kelley Washington: "Kelley looks good. He looks real good. I really think that he is going to come in and put pressure on this offense."

On the attributes that Washington brings to the Ravens: "Wisdom. He is very knowledgeable about the game. He has been around and knows the game. [Kelley] has been in a similar offense, so he picks it up pretty easily. Along with that, he catches the ball."

On his thoughts about the progression of QB Joe Flacco and his confidence:"When he came out the first day, we were already doing no-huddle offense. Last year, Cam [Cameron] was standing behind Joe telling him the plays. But we have come a long way and have got our heads down. And we're driving – chipping away and chipping away, and we're just looking forward to run it down the field and see what we can do."

On his thoughts about offensive versatility and coming out with big plays: "Cam always talks to us about not just being a receiver, quarterback, linemen or a tight end, but being an athlete. Defensive guys as well. There is no telling what is going to go in the offense and what we're going to come up with. I call him the mad scientist. I am excited to see we do, as he is comfortable with us and we know how his mind is and how he approaches things."

On his thoughts about new CB Domonique Foxworth: "I've known 'Foxy' my whole life. I was there when he was drafted [in 2005 in Denver]. He used to talk about [Baltimore] all the time. So, I know he was looking forward to [returning here], and when the [Ravens] signed him, I was like, 'Whoa, Foxy finally came back to where he was talking about.' I am happy for him in that way."

On the absence of previous defensive coordinator Rex Ryan: "Nothing changes. As long as the players are the same, it is not going to change that much. We're still going to run a lot of the same stuff. The schemes are pretty much the same. I've known [Greg Mattison] a long time. I had him in college [at Michigan]. He lives and breeds defensive linemen. I am happy. All defensive coordinators are kind of like defensive linemen because it starts with working your way back. I think that he'll be good for us. We all miss [Ryan]. The thing you miss with him is the personality. Football is X's and O's. But [Mattison] has a personality, too. Like I said, I've known him a long time."

On the first impression of fellow teammate T Michael Oher: "He doesn't say much. He is very quiet, but I think he has the attitude of a serial killer, in a good way. I think he will be all right. He has a quiet intensity about him, and it doesn't seem like he has much body fat. That is pretty much the most impressive thing. It's like, 'Wow, look at this guy.' He looks like Julius Peppers. He is going to be something."

On the health status of Pryce: "I feel just fine, but it is May. Ask me again in September and I will give you an honest to God answer."

On the leadership and attendance of the veteran players in minicamp: "It says we're committed to trying to get back to where we were. I think it is more along the lines for the young guys to see us so they don't think we're above the team. Like I told my coach, I am like Eddie Murphy… You got 48 hours, then I'm a ghost. Let's solve this murder mystery, then I've got to go. Coach Harbaugh wanted us to show our faces. I don't think he minds one way or another. It is more important for him that the younger guys see us and know that this is important to us."

On how much QB Joe Flacco is ready to take that next step: "It's hard to say because a lot of times you get that sophomore jinx thing going. But sometimes the second year is the biggest year. My second year was a big year. Ray Lewis' second year was a big year – I remember that. The greatest improvement is from Year One to Year Two. Not One to Four or Two to Six. I think he will make a big improvement. I don't know quarterback play – what he's doing better or what he's doing worse. I just know if he throws touchdowns or interceptions. He works hard and he is here. I don't think he has changed much. [Joe] has a calm nature about him when he got here, and he is still the same way even after he took us to the AFC Championship."

On how coming to so close to the Super Bowl has affected this year's outlook: "You look at last year like it was last year. I don't think you want to say that if we worked a little harder we could have made it because no, every year is a different experience. The fact that we got close is OK. Let's put that aside and worry about what happens this season. Let's not dwell on what happened before. You put that away and there is nothing we can do about it."

On his back injury that he played with last season: "I'm trying to get a few little things to get back out there playing full speed. It is mostly just lower back. The same stuff I was dealing with at the end of last year."

On playing through his injury during the regular season into the playoffs: "It was really just the playoffs that [my back] got that way. It was frustrating, but it was the playoffs. You don't really think about too much about yourself or personal injury. You're more thinking about all we need to do is win this game and we're set. It was more fun than anything."

On what caused the injury in the first place: "It more happened in practice. It was just kind of a weird deal."

On how he sees the offense progressing under the second year of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and QB Joe Flacco: "Joe looks great. He has come out taking ownership of this offense. He has a whole season under his belt. His improvement and leadership have proven he can make plays and see the field out there. I think everyone notices it. It is fun to watch. It's fun to see him make throws. I don't think we're going to have to worry about the ball being where it's supposed to be on time this year. Last year he showed he can do it. I think that he is going to be even better this year."

On having more opportunities to make more catches this season: "We will see. We have a lot of time to tighten everything up offensively, and obviously, a lot of time to work on a lot of different things. We have some good young linemen that have shown a lot of promise. I am excited to see how they play and excited to see how our offensive line comes together."

On how so many veterans have shown up today's OTA: "I think most of the guys are always around anyways. I don't think that there has been an issue. We have a lot guys that just love football that are able to be here and are here. That's the bottom line. All the guys that are able to be here are here, and we are getting a lot of work in that way."

On new teammate TE L.J. Smith: "With Dan Wilcox not being back, L.J. has been huge. I am excited to see how he comes along. I have watched him over the years, and he is a great player. We're definitely going to work well together, and I'm excited about it."

On when he can be at full speed practicing with the team: "I am working into it right now. I have been doing individual drills every day, just making sure I am completely healthy so I don't take a step backward. It's getting there, but I want to make sure I am completely there, especially this time of the season. It's time to get better and make sure that your body is ready to go."

On if he will be ready for training camp: "Yeah, definitely."

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