Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "Thanks for coming out on a beautiful day – not quite as nice as yesterday, but … For all the fans out there, the reporters – most of them are in their flip flops I noticed – were standing down there right next the field on Field Three in the beautiful sun, unlike yesterday. But, thanks for coming out. Expect Matt Vensel, who braved the elements. Good practice. I thought [it was] really spirited, really starting to look like … They call it minicamp, which is kind of a mini version of training camp, and it's starting to look a little bit like it's goings to look come the end of July, as far the pace of practice. Guys are doing a good job of staying within the rules – it's non-contact. We're starting to execute some things really well. Some guys are starting to shine, so it was a lot of fun out there – a lot of high spirits, really good practice."
Is there a new addition to the Ravens family with Joe Flacco's baby coming right up? (Aaron Wilson) "Right, that's right. Do we have a report? I haven't heard anything since I've been on the field.* (Senior vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne interjects: "They are at the hospital.") *Joe got the call this morning. Obviously, the labor started, and Joe was high-tailing up the road to Philly to be with [his wife] Dana. We wish them nothing but the best. They don't know if it's going to be a boy or a girl, so we're all going to find out, not exactly the same time, but I am sure with the media the way you guys are, you will be tweeting that pretty quickly. How do you get this information so fast? So, that will be fun to see. All the best to them."
How did Tyrod Taylor do? This is a little chance for him. (Aaron Wilson)"Tyrod did well. I thought Tyrod did well. Curtis [Painter] did well, Chester [Stewart] did well, and John [Brantley] did well, too. Tryod especially stepped up, and Curtis threw some real nice balls in the red zone. It was a really good practice, and those guys ran the practice."
John, is there a difference having a quarterbacks coach this year compared to last year? (Don Markus) "Yeah, we have a quarterbacks coach this year. We didn't have one last year."
I mean, is there a difference in terms of working with players? (Don Markus)"I don't think so. The question that I would say is more specific to the personalities and the people. I thought we had a good year last year. [Offensive coordinator] Cam [Cameron], obviously, does a great job of coaching the quarterbacks, and we tied the offense a little more directly to Joe [Flacco]. I've said that before. That has great value in the big picture of the process of developing our young quarterback. This year, [quarterbacks coach] Jim [Caldwell] became available, and it's been a perfect fit. Timing was really good, and the guy was right, too. Jim has done a great job, and those guys are really hitting it off. It's going to show up in the way our quarterbacks play and the way our offense plays."
Have you seen it show up already with how well Joe has been playing in practice? Do you think some of that is already Jim's fundamental teaching? (Ryan Mink) "Yeah, it's all of that. The fundamental teaching is a big part of it. And, it's all of those things. They are things that hopefully will come together, and it will make every one of our players the best they can be – quarterback position no less. The people you put around him, the fact that he is going to be a fifth-year guy now, the fact that the offense … We're being able to do some things with the offense that we think fit Joe, and the fact of the fundamentals that are being taught, and Joe being ready, maybe to, from the standpoint of his career, to take off in some of those things."
Haloti Ngata played through some things last year. He had another good season, but towards the second half, it seemed like he had to battle through some things. What can a healthy Haloti Ngata mean to this team? (Aaron Wilson) "Well, Haloti was healthy most of the year, but those guys are never going to be 100 percent. It's trench warfare in there, and there are always going to be things. He had a pretty deep thigh bruise as the year went on. Hopefully that won't happen [this season]. Maybe we'll get some thigh boards on those guys like the league wants to do. That's just part of the game."
Very early in the season, Haloti was dominant, and everybody was talking about him for Defensive Player of the Year. Do you see more and more attention being sent his way and people changing the way they blocked him? (Jeff Zrebiec)"They pretty much know Haloti, and he does get double-teamed, pretty much all the time. Some other guys rose to the occasion. Pernell McPhee put some pressure on the quarterback with some single blocks. [Paul] Kruger, we moved inside in some of those situations. [Terrence] Cody in the run game especially. But sure, he gets a lot of attention. They know who he is. The Jets game, if you think about that game for Haloti, was the one where they really struggled to block him."
I know you talked about this yesterday, but have you heard anything from Ed Reed? (Kevin Cowherd)"No, I haven't, not to make too much out of it. I have tremendous respect for Ed. I have used the word 'admiration.' I am not worried about Ed being ready. I said a couple of weeks ago that I know Ed is going to be working hard and getting himself ready for the season. Any comment beyond that really has no value. I value our friendship, I value the relationship, I value him as a player, and I am going to plan as if he is going to be here and be ready to go. Whatever is going on, Ed knows how to deal with it."
With two young receivers who made some big plays today, Tommy Streeter and Deonte Thompson, can you talk about the progression they have made over the past few weeks? (Matt Vensel) "Those two guys, especially today, had some real plays when we were down there in the team period. They have gotten better. We have probably gotten more work with the rookies this year than any year since I have been here or any year that I know of in the league with a group of rookies. We've gotten a lot of reps with them the way the rules are set up, and we have a good number of them here, so we can get a lot done. They've all benefited, but those two guys have made big strides."
What have you seen from Art Jones as he transitions a little more to the defensive end position? (Ryan Mink) "Art has played well. Art is not a surprise to me – exactly as expected. He has done well. He can play both spots. He is going to play the defensive end spot, and he is competing for the starting job in there, and he is also going to play the three-technique spot, which he would probably be the third man in that rotation. Versatility is huge. So, he is going to play a lot of football regardless of where it ends up shaking out for the most part."
You've got a little retirement party tonight for [former equipment manager] Ed Carroll and [former vice president of medical services/head certified athletic trainer] Bill Tessendorf. What have they meant to this organization, this franchise? (Garrett Downing) "Coming here four years ago, those guys were just institutions here, Ed and Bill. And then you watch them work, and the way they relate to the players, you understand why. Those two guys cared deeply about the players. The relationships they had with the players are as good as you are ever going to see, and a lot of those guys are going to be down there just for that reason. I know a lot of guys are coming back for the reception, too. Hats off to them. We're still going to lean on them heavily. They are still involved with what we are doing. They still want to be a part of what we're doing. Thanks for everything they did, on behalf of the coaching staff here."
The slogans that are on your shirt, where do they come from? (Joe Platania)"'4 Fights Every Day.' We all have at least four fights every day, don't we? With something, or somebody? We had it last year; it was part of our approach to things – part of the challenge of building a team and holding a team together in the face of adversity. And criticism, and all the challenges that you face. And these are things that you have to hold on to and fight for every day."
Are those new T-shirts? Did you just get them printed? (Ryan Mink) "T-Shirts just got printed, yeah. [We] handed them out yesterday. Guys wearing them? They're wearing them with pride, yeah."
The running backs keep getting more opportunities with Ray Rice not here. Have seen anyone breaking away or at least them taking advantage of the opportunity? (Morgan Adsit) "I would say taking advantage of the opportunity. You know, Bernard [Pierce] tweaked his hamstring yesterday, so he was out today, but he'll be OK. It's a minor thing. But all of those guys have done really well. We're not in pads, so you can't really say somebody's separated yet, but they've all put themselves in position to compete in training camp, and they're all going to do well next year. It's going to be fun to watch them in training camp and in the preseason."
DT Haloti Ngata
On how much the thigh bruise at the end of last season limited the way he played: "I had a couple of problems, but I just didn't feel probably just as powerful at the end of the season as what I usually feel. I just didn't feel that strong, so I think a little bit this year I'm going to probably try to get up on the weight a little bit just to help me with some of that power. I think being a little bit lighter kind of made me lose some of that power. So, we'll see how it goes."
On whether he played at 340 pounds last year:"335."
On where his weight is right now: "Right now I'm like 345, but I'll probably play around 340-345."
On what he thinks his chances are of taking the next step, possibly to earning Defensive Player of the Year: "You know, that would be cool. I was talking actually to Brent [Harris] yesterday about it, and I think it would be awesome just to be a Defensive Player of the Year, because I think that would help our team get to a Super Bowl. So, if it happens, it happens. But, that's something I'm not really thinking about. I just want to help our team win."
On what he thinks he would need to do to get the attention surrounding that award: "Have Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, all those guys on my team.* (laughter)* We've got too many stars."
On whether he feels as quick at his current weight:"I still feel the same. That's the thing, though: I felt more, not as winded, but I'm so used to playing at this weight anyway. It's not going to be a problem."
On what he remembers about his battles with new Ravens G Bobbie Williams: "Man, I'm not going to have that much of a headache anymore playing Cincinnati. But me and Bobbie, we used to go at it all the time, and we have so much respect for each other. I have a lot of respect for him, and so I'm happy we have him here, and I think we're going to have a lot of good things out of him."
On his first reaction when he heard about the injury to OLB Terrell Suggs:"I didn't believe it at first. I was like, it's probably some kind of media hocus pocus, whatever thing. But I actually texted him and wanted to see if it was true, and he said it was, and so it's just going to be tough, because you can never replace Terrell. But, a lot of younger guys are looking pretty good, and hopefully we can – as veterans – bring a lot of those younger guys up and help them out."
On whether he thinks that will change the amount of attention he personally gets on the field:"If it does, it does. That doesn't matter. If they pay more attention to me, then it'll open up other guys. That's how I feel."
On what he has seen from DE/DT Arthur Jones so far this camp: "He's doing a lot of good things. I think he's getting used to having a lot of space. I don't think he's as used to it yet, but he's going to be really good out there. Him and Pernell McPhee will probably have a good battle at it."
On whether he had a procedure done this offseason at all: "No."
On what it would mean to be in consideration for Defensive Player of the Year as an interior lineman:"I mean, that's cool. Like I said earlier, that's pretty awesome. And if I actually get it, that would be really cool, and then something that I probably would cherish. But whatever helps our team win, that's what I'm looking forward to."
G Bobbie Williams
On how it feels to be with the Ravens: "Awesome, awesome, and I truly mean that right there. It's a good feeling being here with a franchise, a team that's known for being physical and known for being winners."
On what his first thoughts were when signing with the Ravens and on what he remembers from some of the battles he has had against the Ravens: "Well, my first thought of signing here was like great opportunity to go for the Big Dance, to get the major accomplishment that everybody plays this game for, a great opportunity to go to the Super Bowl and win. And some battles against some of these guys, I mean, me and [DT Haloti] Ngata have some classic ones, and I told Ray [Lewis] that all these years I was just trying to give him some love by hugging him, just trying to show him some love. It was kind of like, 'Well you know what? We're glad that you are on our side now.' And I was like, 'Yeah, you get to see me every day now.'"
On how he is feeling after injuries last season:"I'm feeling good. I'm running around. I have to thank [head certified athletic trainer] 'Smitty' [Mark Smith] and the training staff; they are taking good care of me and [offensive line] coach [Andy] Moeller, too, you know, working me in there at the right, getting a good work, and most importantly, getting the lingo down. It's been good thus far."
On if it was tough leaving Cincinnati: "I'm not going to necessarily say it was tough, because before signing here, I was emotionally detached. It was just home there, but it was good run, but I plan on having a better run here. [I] did a two-year [contact agreement], and in those two years, I really want to try to do some awesome things and do as much as I can and give as much as I can to the organization."
On what the coaches are telling him about the open spot at LG:"That's just it, that it's [left guard] open. They like the guy I am. They like my character and they like my plan, and they said that I would be a good fit, and I believe that. I'm up for the challenge, and I'm going to try to maximize every chance I get."
On when he got his nickname "Boss Man":"It goes back to the college days. That's back when I was a young whipper-snapper. I don't really want to go into it; it was kind of like freshman year kind of messing with some of the older guys, roughing them up. So, they were just like, 'You're kind of the boss,' and it stuck with me."
On how different the scheme is here compared to Cincinnati: "[There is] a lot more zone, outside zone here, which is an awesome thing. It gives the running back plenty lanes once you get that defense stretched. It's hard for a defense to block it, and Cincinnati moves more inside, an inside power-type zone. They are right there, but here this scheme right here is awesome. It's good for me, a big guy that can move, that has a little strength, so you get that defense stretched and can use your upper body to torque them a little bit more, and that's just more lanes for the running back. So, I'm excited, I really am."
On how comfortable he feels running the system here:"It's good because the defense has to respect you. They don't want to get reached; that's the main thing they are taught, not to get reached. And if they get reached, you've got them that way. And if they run, you can stretch them even more, so it's a win-win for us."
On what it is like blocking DT Haloti Ngata: "It's a Proverb saying, 'Iron sharpens iron.' So, one man sharpens another. I just look at it like that, so we plan to be pretty sharp come Monday night."
On how rough last year was in Cincinnati: "Yes, I would say it was definitely my toughest year mentally, and from that it kind of put me and molded me into the gentleman that I am now – very sharper, very more focused now than anything, and I am actually thankful for that. It was a dark time, but from that dark comes light and comes growth. So, I definitely grew from there, and I'm steadily growing even in Year 13."
On how much he likes playing in this division with the level of toughness: "I'm a physical guy, and that's what I like. Defenses don't tend to like a physical offensive lineman, so it's a perfect fit here, perfect fit, and once again, I am just thankful for [general manager/executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] and the organization for bringing me in. I really am, and I just want to try and do everything I can to help out."
On if any of the rookies came and picked his brain yet:"They will come ask me a question here and there, and I just try my best to share what I know and what I've been through and nothing more. I can't make up anything that I haven't done or seen, but I just share with them kind of like a testimonial, a technique, something that I've been doing. And if it helps them, then awesome."
On how much he is looking forward to playing Cincinnati:"Absolutely, and I think I might be a little bit more excited than them, because they are used to seeing me in practice, and they know that it's a good challenge for them. They know I like to lean on them, so I don't know how excited they are for that, but I'm excited."
On how comfortable he is playing left or right guard:"It doesn't even matter, flip the coin. I'm enjoying left right now quite a bit, so I plan on taking it and running with it and adding it to the resume."
On if the footwork is the only thing that is different for left and right guard:"That's it. On the right side, it's your right foot back, and on the left side, it's your left foot back. You just take that, and at this stage in the game, that's all it is, is a change – just switch up your footwork and go with it. The mentality is still the same."
On how he feels about playing with some of the Ravens' veterans like C Matt Birk: "It's awesome; I'm looking forward to it. I really can't even go into detail until I get a chance to get out there with him and listen to him direct it and just go. That's definitely going to make my job a little bit easier, and I'll take it, I'll take it every time."