Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "Great to see everybody. We appreciate you coming. We had a good day. Obviously, it cooled off a little bit from yesterday, which was nice. The guys worked really hard – sharp, crisp for this time of year. But, we have plenty of things to work on. [There were] a lot of reps for the young guys, so that's beneficial."
John, we saw [Kelechi Osemele] go off for a while, then come back without pads. What did he do? (Aaron Wilson) "Like all these guys, he's got little bumps and bruises and stuff like that for this time of year. I am really not going to get into injuries in May. But, he's fine."
How about conditioning? Are you seeing the conditioning you want from these guys? Are they in good shape? (Jerry Coleman) "They are. Most of them are. The guys who have been here are in better shape. The rookies have been here now for going on three weeks. So, the pace of practice has been a good challenge for them. They are getting into shape as we go forward. Of course, they are doing the extra conditioning in the afternoon and everything with the lifting and the running. All the guys are still lifting while we practice. Everybody is working really hard."
Coach, with so many priorities, is there any one area that you tend to emphasize the most with such a big group? (Stan Saunders) "It's just so many things. We're working on everything all the time. One of our philosophies, basically, is that we want to chase perfection, and we want to do it as fast as we can. The game is played fast. When you have to perform on Sunday, you have to perform under pressure. We try to create, as much as we can, a game-type of speed. Of course you can't simulate that out here in this kind of situation, but we want guys to be perfect in their technique and their assignment and do it as fast as they can. That's just an ongoing process, and we chase it every day."
You have had several different defensive coordinators. All of them have their own style. Now that Dean Pees has had a couple OTAs to work with the guys, what does he bring to the table that is a little bit distinctive? (Joe Platania)"Dean is distinctive. If you talk to the players, they will tell you that. He definitely has his own style. How to describe it? I don't know. He is forceful, obviously. He is very confident. He has been doing this a long time. He is really creative. He is one of the better teachers I have ever seen as a coach. Obviously, the proof is going to be in the pudding, but we are excited about where we are going on defense."
Was he tough on you [at the University of Miami (Ohio) when Harbaugh was a defensive back and Pees the defensive coordinator/secondary coach]? (Joe Platania) "He had to be. (laughing) He's a great football coach. I am sure he is going to do a great job."
Do you feel fortunate that you have been able to go from one defensive coordinator to another to another? Really, you have had very little drop off. (Dave Ginsburg) "Everybody has done a great job. All four of the guys who have been coordinators here in the last going on five years have all done a tremendous job – all with the circumstances they have to deal with. It goes back to the players, obviously. We have had some stability and some continuity with some leadership, obviously, with the star players, the veteran guys who we all know about. Those guys have so much to do with the tradition that has been established. But, the coordinators are no small part of that, and obviously, all the position coaches. We have a great staff. [Defensive line coach] 'C.B.' [Clarence Brooks] has been here the whole time. [Linebackers coach] Ted Monachino is going into his third year. [Secondary coach] Teryl Austin has done a great job with the secondary. [He is] one of the better technique-fundamental secondary coaches you are ever going to see. [Inside linebackers coach] Don Martindale is adding a ton to our defense right now, so all the guys have done a great job."
Now that you have officially signed Justin Tucker now, is the plan to keep him around for training camp and have him compete for the job in camp? (Aaron Wilson)"That's our plan. Yeah, he has done nothing to make us think that he can't handle that competition. There is always competition. Billy [Cundiff] obviously has the edge. But, everybody is fighting for their job."
Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg
How important is it to have the young guys around this offseason, as opposed to last year, to kind of teach them the fundamentals? (Ryan Mink) "The rookies that we have right now can't believe that last year's rookies went right into training camp without these sessions, because they can't imagine not having the ability to be coached and to watch the film and to develop, and [then] be thrust right into a preseason game. So, it's fun, too. The guys are enjoying themselves, and it's really the opportunity for those players that haven't played a lot of special teams lately in their career to re-learn it or for those that haven't played special teams at all in their college careers to really learn how to do it. So, it's been a lot of fun. The energy is good, the guys are competing hard, and the elder players are helping the younger players. It's been good."
How beneficial is it to have some of those older players in the mix, kind of leading that group? (Garrett Downing) "It's priceless. And these guys are not only knowledgeable as to the X's and O's, but they understand the techniques and the nuances that even a coach perhaps can't articulate quite as well. You see those guys doing it, and that's the way our team is. And even though in some cases some of the younger players are competing with the older players, the older players are helping the younger players, and that's what our team is all about."
Does the term "special teams" get the respect that it deserves? (Stan Saunders) "I think it does. I think in this league, everybody has a pretty good grasp of how important it can be, and I know the players do. And even those that aren't playing a full-time role on special teams, I think they understand how much special teams can help a club, and they want to win, too. So, yeah, I think special teams is very well-respected, and the guys that do it really well – if you find a linebacker or a safety or even a wide receiver that's making a lot of tackles on kickoff team – I can assure you it has his teammates' respect."
What have you seen from WR/RS Jacoby Jones as a return man? (Ryan Mink) "He's really fast. I knew that before, but I'd never seen it quite up close as I have. He is a guy … There are certain things you know about a guy, and certain things you don't until you get up close to them. I did know he was fast, what I didn't know is how hard of a worker he is and what a good teammate he is. And that's been exciting, because he's out here every day when Sam's [Koch] warming up. He wants to catch balls whenever he can. He's excited about the opportunity to contribute on special teams, along with his offensive role. So, that's probably the thing that's been really heartening to see."
What's the biggest key in your mind as far as generating more production in general in the return game? (Luke Jones) "Part of it is [the] returner. We have a guy now that's been successful, has experience being a returner, and that's part of it. And the other part is coaching. We have to coach better, we've got to make the returns more productive, and that's what we're doing out here. We're practicing that."
What makes Jones such a productive and dynamic return guy? (Paul Mittermeier) "He's got a lot of different skills, but the thing that stands out is he understands how fast he is, and he's able to draw people in and then beat them. And some guys are fast but don't know how to use their speed. Jacoby's fast and he knows how to use his speed. That's probably the thing that stands out to me."
Jacoby didn't return kickoffs last year, but you're looking at him in both returner roles? (Ryan Mink) "Yes, we are."
Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron
Opening statement: "It's good seeing you guys. Thanks for being here. It's interesting, here we are in OTAs and almost training camp down the road, and here is Matt Birk. You guys saw Matt Birk today. He probably had his best practice. How many years is that for him? The leadership this team has on offense, I think you guys would enjoy this group. I think I saw the other day Marshal Yanda had some good comments. Marshal has been here a lot of the offseason. Obviously, he wasn't here today. I like what I have seen so far. We are getting better every day. I thought Joe [Flacco] had a nice day today. I think you guys would agree with that. Any questions?"
Cam, can you talk about LaQuan Williams? He is a guy who just got his foot in the door, won't leave and just seems to be getting better and better. He looks like he may be ready to expand his role. (Pete Gilbert) "And that says it. He is a good football player. We're expecting great things out of him. Obviously, we got some depth at receiver. You saw Jacoby Jones, who is blending in nicely. That's a good group. That's a good group of guys that have talent. They get better every day. You've seen Tandon Doss. He has basically made every play but maybe one of those that you saw today. He has had a great offseason so far. I love that room. I love the job that [WRs coach] Jim Hostler is doing. I think I heard [head coach] John [Harbaugh] talking about our staff a little bit. Our offensive staff, these guys are on fire. It's fun for me just to sit back and watch. We have divided up fields, we have doubled-down some drills, and I get the chance to run back and forth from drill to drill and watch this staff go to work. It has been a lot of fun."
What have you seen from Bernard Pierce so far? Have you coached anybody in your career that you can say he is similar to? (Gerry Sandusky) "I don't know. I think they are all kind of unique, and sometimes when you put a name with a guy, those comparisons start. But, the one thing is you can see why we drafted him. I can't wait until the pads come on. I think that becomes the true test for any young player. But he is physical, smart and fast. Now, he just needs to keep learning the system, listen to what [RBs coach] Wilbert Montgomery is asking him to do, listen to the guys in the room. Vonta Leach has been here a considerable amount of time, which has been good for him. Comparisons? I don't know if we need to make that yet, or if we will, but one thing that is obvious is that he is a good football player."
Cam, what kind of improvements have you seen from Anthony Allen? It looks like he is in a lot better condition than he was a year ago. (Aaron Wilson)"I haven't looked at it from a conditioning standpoint, because I thought he was in pretty good condition last year. Obviously, he had a hamstring injury, but we've kind of felt he has been a good football player since the day we drafted him. He came in and did extremely well for a guy that was playing fullback and has moved to tailback, a guy that we think can play all three downs. I see nothing but upside. I see nothing but positives for him. He is another guy that has had a good offseason."
Another running back, Damien Berry, what improvement do you see with from bringing him in last year, being in training camp and on the practice squad last year to right now? (Jason Butt)"Yeah, size. He has gotten bigger, he has gotten stronger. You can tell that he has done a ton of work. He has done a great in our weight room. The job that [strength and conditioning coach] Bob [Rogucki] does with all these guys, especially the young guys, because he gets those guys the most, Bob Rogucki. I just love [Berry's] approach. Again, he is another guy that I think is going to shine when the pads come on because he is big, fast and physical. He likes football. It means a lot to him. I think we'll be pleased. I think he is primed to have a great preseason, and then we'll go from there."
Marshal Yanda was talking about how he feels this offense has the tools to be a No. 1 offense, but it just needs to be more consistent. How does it become more consistent? (Ryan Mink)"True. It's just execution. I think you heard us say that a lot last year. I think there were stretches where we were able to do that. But, stretches aren't going to really get you where you want to be. It's 16 weeks plus four and then some. You really can't afford, anymore, to have a game where offensively you don't play well. I like our approach. I like what Marshal is saying. I think our offensive guys are backing it up with the way they are working. I think that's the important thing. When it comes from a guy like Marshal, you know it has meaning because he is going to back it up, and he is going to pull everybody along with him. He is a great leader. I love the fact that our guys are thinking that way."
Cam, you mentioned Joe [Flacco]. What are you seeing from him as far as his progression now as he becomes a pretty experienced quarterback in the NFL? (Aaron Wilson)"It's just the progression of making plays in critical situations, which he has done. He has done it a lot during his career so far. It seems like just yesterday he was a rookie, and now he is going into his fifth year. I think Joe understands he can't do it by himself. I think everybody understands that everybody has a job to do. It goes back to the consistency. I think Joe has had his most consistent offseason. He has always done well, but he is stacking days on top of each other right now. He did it again today, and I'm sure he'll do the same thing tomorrow."
What have you seen from Tommy Streeter so far? (Kris Jones) "Tommy has really come in with a tremendous attitude. I think he is going to do nothing but get better and better. I think is size speaks for itself. I think his speed speaks for itself. I think as he understands our system more and more, he is going to play faster. But, that's normal for any young receiver. He is working hard in the weight room. He is a young player. He is a guy that just needs to get better every day – and that wide receivers room, with what Jim Hostler will do with him, what you have seen him do with Torrey and Tandon and LaQuan and all these other young guys – we expect great things out of him."
What have you seen from Michael Oher, and how much do you think he will be helped by a full season at right tackle? (Ryan Mink) "He is playing a little bit of both for a variety of reasons, but he just looks – I don't like the term 'comfortable' necessarily – comfortable. He looks comfortable on the right side, he looks comfortable on the left side. He is doing a great job of communicating. His verbal communication is great. His non-verbal communications is the best it has been. You can tell the game is really slowing down for him. I think it has always been slow to a degree for him, but I think he is really starting to mature into a great player. He has always been really, really good, but I have seen another level out of Mike this offseason, which has been fun to watch."
What about left guard? How is that battle shaping up? Are there any front-runners at that position? (Garrett Downing)"I think that's one of those where we are running a lot of guys through there. Obviously, 'K.O.' [Kelechi Osemele] was in there. He didn't practice today. Jah Reid plays in the mix there. Justin Boren has had an outstanding camp. I think you guys have known what we believe – competition. Competition is going to bring out the best in every guy. We'll find the right guy for that spot, and it's nice to have some options."
Speaking of competition, does it seem like defensive coordinators have gotten more clever over the years to make your job a little bit harder where you have to be just as clever? (Stan Saunders) "I don't know how clever you can be against good defenses. Obviously, you want to be sound at what you are doing. You want to execute like we're alluding to. But, the defensive talent in this league and some of the defensive talent that is coming out of college is impressive. It really is. You look at that National Championship game in college; there are some good defensive players coming into this league. Really, it's more about the players, but there is a ton of great defensive coordinators, too. Obviously, we have to be on our game. We have to be sharp. I think we'll get that done."
But, you are seeing more young guys out of college that are impressive than you have seen in the past? (Stan Saunders)"Absolutely. Just look at the corners that are coming into this league now. That used to be the hardest thing to find was corners. Look at our young corners, look at other teams' young corners. The pass rushers that are coming into this league … Obviously, it's an exciting game. You can see why the fans love it. These veteran players that don't want to go away … These young guys that are coming into this league and doing well … I think it's a lot of fun, and there are a lot of good, young offensive players coming in, too. These kinds of guys make you want to coach forever."
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
Dean, talk so far about how things have gone with the OTAs? (Stan Saunders) "I think our installation is going well. We're trying to get a lot in, and we've kind of backed up a little bit today, slowed things down and repeated what we had done a little bit yesterday. With the rookies, we have put a lot in in a short amount of time, and I think it was little overload going on, so we decided, 'Hey, we need to clean this stuff up before we move on to some of the other things.' So, I was very pleased with the way we responded today."
What is it like to come up with a defense without OLB Terrell Suggs? (David Ginsburg) "Unfortunately, the situation with Terrell, we would like that to be different, but it's not. But it's also not the first time in any of our careers – especially in mine – that we've had a good player either miss some time, or even miss a whole season. What you do is, you've still got to install the defense. You've still got to find out who can play the position. I don't think that we're not going to show up next fall, so the thing of it is somebody's got to step up, somebody's got to take his spot. So basically, you've still installed just like you've always installed, and you try to find out who's going to be the best fit at that position, and you go forward from there."
Does that affect your scheme? Do you think you're going to have to bring more pressure because of that? (Ryan Mink) "If I was, I wouldn't tell you. (laughter) Everything always affects scheme. Everything does. But the difference is a little bit, if you have a big package, then there's usually enough stuff within that package that you can change from week to week. It's just like last year when we lost Ray [Lewis] for four games. Did we change the package? Some. You tweak it a little bit, you don't really change it. You've got enough stuff, hopefully within your package, that if something happens to somebody you can go to something else that'll really kind of play to their strengths. And that's what you look for in personnel. You try to find everybody's strengths; you try to play to their strengths. What might be different for another outside 'backer might be different than it was for Suggs. So, we'll find things that'll hopefully play to everybody's strengths."
Of the guys you're plugging in, who has been standing out? (Morgan Adsit) "Really, I think all the outside guys. I've been very, very pleased with Paul Kruger. Albert McClellan has done a good job outside. Sergio [Kindle] has shown a lot of improvement from a year ago. Courtney Upshaw – our draft pick – has been doing a good job, and he's used to a little bit of this scheme, because there are a lot of similarities [to Alabama]. One of the things with being with [Alabama head coach] coach [Nick] Saban – since I was also with coach Saban for four years – I can kind of interpret some of our things into his terms, which helps him just a little bit. So, I've been pleased with all those guys outside."
What improvements have you seen from Sergio Kindle, and also if you could touch on Michael McAdoo? (Ryan Mink)"The thing with Sergio … The biggest improvement is the fact that he's been out there. The guy hasn't, he really has not had a chance to play with the injury and all that kind of stuff. So, the fact that he's been out there, and just starting to get reps, he's starting to learn the defense. It's really hard to evaluate people sometimes, and it's really hard sometimes to evaluate rookies when they don't really know what they're doing. So sometimes you look out there and you think, 'Boy, that guy looks terrible.' Well, he looks terrible because he's thinking about what he's doing, and so he's not doing it. And so you really can't tell athletically what they can do. Well, the biggest thing with Sergio is the fact now that he's been able to play, he's been in practice, he's been in the meetings, he's been with us, and so it's the same thing. And it's the same thing with Michael McAdoo. I mean, he spent a year out – really, a couple years out – so his is just a matter of getting in there. They're not rookies, but they're close. And so it's a matter of getting out there and just getting the reps and really learning the defense. And you can really tell … A guy plays at a much higher rate of speed when he knows what he's doing, and that's really the key thing."
Coach, how are you different than your predecessors, specifically Chuck Pagano? (David Ginsburg)"You'll probably be able to tell me after the 16th game of the season how I'm different. (laughter) I don't know. I don't know how I'm different. Everybody's got their own personality. I loved working with Greg [Mattison]. Chuck Pagano, I have the absolute utmost respect for, and he did a fantastic job. You know, when somebody says, 'I'm not going to be like them,' that is not … It's not a compliment, but it's also not anything negative. It is just you are who you are. I've been around coaches who have tried to be somebody other than who they are, and that's just not … You've got to fit your personality. We have a system here. We have a system in place. It's a system that has been proven, it's worked. So, I'm not going to come in and try to change that system. Am I going to try to put my personal touch on it? Yeah, I probably will without even knowing I'm putting my personal touch on it. I just think everybody calls a game differently, everybody sees a game differently, but yet, it's still going to be some of the same calls. Are we going to call them in the exact same time? Hey, I don't know. Everybody's got to put their own niche on it."
So, who are you Dean? What's your personality? What's your coaching style? (Stan Saunders) "You can probably tell my voice carries out there on the field quite a bit. I don't really need signals; I could probably yell [the play] in. But I think, hopefully, we'll have a bunch of guys that play hard – not really any different than the philosophy has been here. We want a bunch of guys that can run to the ball and are nasty and upset when they get to the ball. Almost slipped there. (laughter) But we just want guys that play hard. I told these guys the very first day on defense, there are three things that I expect out of a defensive player: No. 1, you've got to be tough to play defense. No. 2, you've got to know what to do. No. 3, you've got to give great effort. Now, in none of those three did I say anything about athletic ability. Now, if you add athletic ability under that, you've got a Pro Bowler. But everybody can give me those three things right there. Everybody. Everybody standing here, everybody everywhere can do those three things. You've got to be tough, you've got to know what to do and you've got to give effort. And if you do those things, you're going to have a successful defense."
How has the transition for you been, moving back into the defensive coordinator role? (Garrett Downing)"I love it. It has been great. It's been very smooth. [Head coach] John [Harbaugh] has been absolutely great to me. The coaching staff, super. It has been an easy transition, basically because everybody has kind of been here. We added [inside LBs coach] Don Martindale, but Don and I coached together at Notre Dame back in the '90s, so I have known Don for a long, long time. It's been a really easy transition."
A couple of the second-year guys like Pernell McPhee and Jimmy Smith weren't here today, but I know they were here last week. How important is this time for guys like that, who didn't have the OTAs last year? (Jeff Zrebiec) "It's real important, because last year was really a tough year, not having an offseason at all. Anytime that they can be here is always a benefit for them and it is a benefit for us, too. It gives us a chance to evaluate them further. It's also good for them because they pick up whatever we're doing scheme-wise, because we are adding a lot all the time. The whole part of OTAs is to try to get the whole package in, even sometimes when it doesn't look good, but at least they have heard it. So, that way it's not new when you put it in in the fall. There may be things that we do here in OTAs that we may not do until the fifth game of the season, but at least they have heard it one time, done it one time. Even though it might not have been great, at least they have some inkling of what we are talking about when we come back to it."
Dean, you talked about the system here, but no more Jarret Johnson, no Cory Redding and the loss of Terrell Suggs. You never want to lose guys like that, but do you embrace the challenge of trying to find that new mix of guys that are going to make the Ravens' defense? (Luke Jones) "Sure. I think as a coach, you just go out there and you have to coach the guys that are here. There aren't any other choices. So yeah, there is also that competitor in us as a defensive staff that … Yeah, we may be missing a guy. I remember when I was in New England and they told me Teddy Bruschi had a stroke. Those weren't exactly the words that I wanted to hear [about] my starting 'mike' 'backer, but we put in somebody else. Mike Vrabel, who had never even played outside 'backer, ended up playing 'mike' for us. I'm not saying he was great at it, but we had schemes and things that we could do until Bruschi came back. It will be the same thing with Terrell. We'll have guys in place, and we'll do things that we need to do until he gets back, and when he gets back, we probably won't change a whole lot. We'll just try to put him in a position to do what he does best."
How much pride do you take in those New England performances that you had? That defense was one of the best defenses in the league while you were there and it really hasn't been since. (Ryan Mink) "Well, I don't really pay any attention to them. All I know is this has been one of the best defenses in the league, and this is the only one I care about."
Was the change of scenery helpful for you? When you came from New England, you said it was time for a change. How has the change of scenery helped you? (Ryan Mink)"It was great, because the fact is that one of reasons I came here is because I knew so many guys. I coached John [Harbaugh], so I've known John ever since he was in college. [Former defensive coordinator Greg] Mattison and I coached together a long time ago. I have known all of these guys. So to me, this was just a great situation with a bunch of guys I know. Everybody at some point in time, sometimes in your career, you need a little change of scenery. You just need to change gears just a little bit, maybe just freshen up a little bit and need a change. After six years up there, I felt like I needed that, and I am one lucky guy to be here."