BALTIMORE RAVENS TRANSCRIPTS
G/T Kelechi Osemele
On if he is ready for a real game compared to preseason games:"It's going to be good to get ready for a real game, have the starters out there preparing for it. You get a good feel for who's going to be out there, and just get everybody that's going to be out there working together as a team as opposed to filling holes and trying to see who's going to be where. It will be good to actually build the chemistry, as far as the starters go; that will be interesting."
On if he expects to start in the regular season opener or if he will have a substantial role behind one of the veterans:"The feel that I'm getting is that I'll pretty much have a substantial role as far as how my preseason went. [I'm] not really sure how things are going to go as far as starting or at what point, but it feels like I'll have a pretty substantial role as far as what my coaches have been saying."
On if he expects to move positions a little bit:"I'm pretty sure I will probably be moved around a little, probably just for depth reasons and for experience reasons, just because they want me to be versatile. As the season progresses and we kind of know our guys, then I will probably be at one spot or the other."
On if he has a preference on what position he plays:"Not really. At first, coming into it I had a preference for tackle, but now that I've played guard and I actually enjoy it, like it, I actually think it is a little bit easier. So, I'm going to like both just as much."
On why playing guard is easier: "You just don't have the range difficulties at guard, and you don't face the same type of athletes that you do at tackle. So, it just makes it easier."
On how much of a benefit it was playing a lot in the preseason: "It helped me a lot, as a conditioning aspect. There's really no substitute for being in football shape. No matter how much you run or lift weights, there's really no substitute for it. And then flipping me positions and me pretty much getting every rep at practice, I got in pretty good shape. As far as the games as well, playing three quarters instead of the one or two that other guys are playing, or the couple of series, that definitely got me in pretty good football shape. As far as experience goes, that as well goes with it, the more reps you get, the more comfortable and more second-nature it becomes to you."
On if he has ever learned center or left tackle positions: "I got a couple reps at left tackle during practice, but I haven't gotten any reps at center. I've never, actually, even snapped a ball before. *(laughing) *I hope to keep it that way."
On if he is ready to go into M&T Stadium as a rookie and how he is getting ready for it: "Really, just the preseason games are the only thing that can get me ready for that. From what I've heard, there's really no substitute for that first regular season game. So, I'm looking forward to that and the crowd noise and just the whole environment and really just soaking in that feeling of going out there for the first time and how hard you've worked to get out there. So, I'm looking forward to that experience."
On his impression of life in the NFL compared to his life at Iowa State: "It really goes beyond words. You really have to walk through that tunnel and really just go through that moment and going through the National Anthem and the warm-up and everything. It's really nothing that you can really predict until you're really in that moment. But I've enjoyed it. I've loved, it and it's definitely been paying off for me how hard I've been working. So, it's really a dream come true for me."
On where he feels the offensive line is right now in terms of development: "As far as our development, we're doing great. Obviously, we have really good veterans on our team. Me being a young guy, I'm just trying to learn from them. They've got it down pat. They make very little mistakes. They've been in mid-season form since we've started, so they look good. I'm just trying to catch up and get to where they are at, which is going to take me a while. As far as the front five, those guys are ready to go."
On what he has learned from Bobbie Williams so far: "He's just a wise guy. He's a really wise guy. He has all the experience in the world. Really, most of the things that's he's been teaching me aren't really physical; it's just how to be mentally prepared for a game and to be mentally prepared to go to battle and things of that nature. It really hasn't been anything too much technique, because what he's been telling me from my aspect is that I'm big enough, and I'm athletic enough, and I can beat any guy out there physically. I just have to be mentally ready and prepare the right way for a game."
On if Williams has given him any advice off the field: "One thing that Bobbie has done is every now and then he gets up and talks in front of us and really just talks about learning every day on and off the field – always learning something, always being open to learning new things and growing, just keeping that flame alive. Once you shut that off and you stop learning, you really stop living. And, that's one thing he says is: 'We're all born dying.' So, that's one thing that I've picked up. He's a really wise guy."
On his impression of the offense so far: "It's hard to say; it's just preseason. I've seen bright spots from LaQuan [Williams] and, obviously, Torrey [Smith] as well. But, it's hard to really say this early in the season, because guys have only been playing a couple of series just to keep guys fresh. From a rookie standpoint, I really don't know where it's going to go. But from what I saw when the guys were in there and them performing and doing what they had to do for the couple of times they were in there, they looked really sharp."
S Bernard Pollard
On the addition of S James Ihedigbo:"The more the merrier. I think with our team, we have to figure what we can do to help us win. Our front office has done a great job all these years, so we don't see them slacking off. But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter, because we aren't paying them contracts – they are. All we do is we have to stay in line. We have to get ready for this upcoming Monday."
On if it is tough to see DB Danny Gorrer go, as he was released today:"Yeah, it's tough. Danny [Gorrer] is my boy, but this is the business side of it. This is the side that anytime you think things are going well, things can change, and we can't control it. One thing I have always been told when I got in this league is you can control the controlables. That's one thing that is out of our hands. We as players, we know it, we understand it, and we just have to be ready. If we do get that phone call, we have to be ready to bounce back."
On if it is nice to be able to solely focus on one opponent:"I think it's kind of weird walking in the doors this morning, knowing that there are going to be less guys, knowing that the bullets are live, knowing that it's a game plan and it's time to put up or shut up. I think all the stuff we have been talking all offseason, from every player, [is] we expect to be great. We expect to go far in the playoffs. We expect to be playing in the Big Show. I know you can't win games through the press; you can't win games through the paper. You have to go out there and do what's right in between the white [lines]."
On if it takes awhile to adapt to new players coming to the team:"As far as trying to understand them to know, 'OK, how do they drive this route?' or 'What are they going to be doing backside when I am doing this?' That's one of the things that you have to fine-tune. Stepping in, knowing that this is the piece of the puzzle that is here, regardless if we want them here or not, we have to trust this person. I think that's the great part of this; that's the unique part of this game. They throw any character in there with you, in the mix with you and say, 'Y'all get along. Y'all make this play happen.' Whoever is in there with us, they are going to buy into the system, they are going to do what's right, and we're going to go out there and play."
On how long the team has been game-planning for Cincinnati:"I've seen just a little film on them. But now, we come in and try to figure out, 'OK, this is what we're going to do if they do this.' Today is the day. We got a couple of extra days because we play on Monday night, but I think our coaches are doing a great job as far as introducing everything to everybody. I think this is going to be the first meeting we have where it's the final 53 [-man roster]. So, I think we have to get that understood first, then we're going to go in and we're going to kick this thing off."
On what kind of challenges Bengals QB Andy Dalton presents:"I've said from the get-go that I think Andy Dalton is a great quarterback. For him to be as young as he is and to lead that team the way he has been leading them, he has done a great job with them. He only is getting better. This is the second year he is under center. I think the guy is a great signal-caller. He goes in there, he demands respect from his teammates, and he goes out there and he throws that pigskin. So I think for us, we have to know that he is going to throw it. They are going to run it. We know what kind of team they are. We know what division we are in. They are going to run the ball. They are going to test us. But, I think we have to stay on our P's and Q's and understand what is going to happen, and that goes with film study. We all have to be in our playbook this week. We have to have the DVDs. We have to be intune to make this thing happen."
On the replacement referees:"This is what it is right now. I would love to see the refs come back. I couldn't care less if you fine me or whatever. I would love to see them come back. But, this is the business part of the NFL. They want things to happen. The refs want things to happen. But, this is one thing that, me being a player, you kind of understand. When we were in strike – or on a lockout, I should say – this is what happens. So, they have to come to an agreement. Hopefully it's quick, tomorrow, hopefully. I can't call it. This is the league. All we can do is hold on. We have to strap up. Y'all got to strap up, because y'all see the calls, too. It's new to them. It's new to the replacement refs. This game is so much faster than what they've seen. Guys are a lot slicker than what they've seen. So, we just have to hope and pray that these refs can get back at it."
On if safety is the biggest concern with the replacement refs:"As far as safety, I think that's something that we've been knocking the last couple of years is safety. I think us as players, we want safety, but we understand that this is a violent sport. You have big men who run fast and who lift weights, running into each other. You are going to have problems, whether it's concussions, whether it's broken bones, it doesn't matter. Guys are going to get hurt. We can't stop that, and we're not going to stop it. This has been going on from the beginning of this game, and they were playing with no facemask. They were playing with no helmets, with leather helmets, if that. You're not going to stop it. You're not going to stop the violence of it, because year-in and year-out, they want bigger, faster and stronger. If you are going to have, if you want that, if you are going to pay for that, you are going to have the injuries as well."
On his response to the notion that it is now the offense's turn to lead the team:"As a defender on this team, I still say we love the fact that defense is what we're about. We love the fact that we can go out there and put fear in the other men that are across from us. We love that. At the same time, we love when our offense scores points. I think Joe [Flacco] has done a great job this year. I think you can see a different Joe. You see a guy who is back there who understands – not to say that he didn't understand before – but I think the way Joe has led himself, the way he continues to lead himself, I think he is doing a very good job, as far as being in the no-huddle [offense], with putting the ball where it's supposed to be. He has weapons around him. We can stretch the field. We can run the ball. We can do all of that. But, in the preseason, all of that looks good – all of that. But now, it's time to get real. But for me on the defensive side of the ball, we love defense, and we love going out there and hitting people. That's what we're about. We just have to continue to do this thing. We have to pull it together as a defense, as an offense and as special teams, to make this thing happen."
On how difficult of a matchup Bengals WR A.J. Green is:"I think A.J. Green is a special talent. He is a really special talent. The guy can go down the field, he can go across the middle. But, when he goes across the middle, he has to see us. And that's not taking anything away from him, but this is what we live for. When we see receivers come across the middle, if we are in the right defense, we are going to smack you, and we are going to let you know that you came across the middle on the wrong team. Having said that, if you miss him, he can hit a homerun. I think, like I said, he has a special gift, and I think [Bengals head coach] Marvin [Lewis] has done a great job as far as getting guys in there to help Andy [Dalton]. We just have to be ready. We don't know what's going to happen yet, but we know they are going to test us. We know that anytime a team steps in here, we are going to get their best shot. I don't care who it is. They can have no wins, we are going to get their best shot."