Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "Thanks for coming. It's been really good work. This is Week Three of the OTAs – the final week of the OTAs. We have one more OTA practice tomorrow. So, this is No. 9 today, and then tomorrow will be No. 10. We'll wrap up that phase of it. Next week, we'll be moving into the minicamp phase. That's the mandatory phase of the offseason program. [We are] just very, very happy with the guys, the way they have been working. [I'm] very happy with the number of reps we're getting, very happy with the attention to detail. The meeting room has been tremendous, and a lot of young guys [are] getting a lot of great work. That's where we're at right now. I might also add this: Joe Flacco, and all the quarterbacks, but Joe has been playing great. It's been just impressive fundamentally. Balls have been in the right places. [He is] throwing the ball very well. Everything he has done, hard work-wise, in the offseason is really showing up in these practices."
John, can you talk about the running backs who are in camp right now? (Don Markus) "The running backs who are in camp right now is the question. We have all but Ray [Rice], and they're all doing really well. Anthony Allen has looked excellent. Damien Berry has looked excellent. They have worked really hard and are in great shape. They understand these tracks we are running. Bernard Pierce has done great, and Bobby Rainey from Western Kentucky has been excellent. We've got a group of running backs right now that we feel real good about."
Are you comfortable with them if you don't sign a veteran? (Don Markus) "Yes."
John, what kind of progress have you seen from Jimmy Smith from last year, and what do you expect from him in his second season? (Aaron Wilson) "Jimmy standing right over there? I expect greatness from Jimmy Smith. He is standing right over there. But, he expects that from himself. Jimmy has worked really, really hard, and again, it's another guy that is showing off in the way he is playing. He is becoming a technician out there in this offseason. He's got all the tools – very humble, hardworking guy. The sky is the limit for Jimmy."
Coach, how do respond to these reports about Terrell Suggs hurting himself playing basketball? Has he talked to you and told you the truth? (Jerry Coleman) "That's not a conversation we're even having. It's not relevant to anything that has anything to do with what we're trying to accomplish. If it were, I guess we'd think about it. But the relevant conversation, as far as Terrell Suggs, is going to be rehab. He is going to be back here next week. He has a doctor's appointment on Monday, if I am not mistaken. He's going to go to work and get that thing back. Knowing Terrell, he will be back sooner rather than later."
John, do you expect to add another outside 'backer or rush end types with the Michael McAdoo injury? (Aaron Wilson) "I don't expect to do that. It would be something, possibly, but it goes more by who is available player-wise. You try to bring the best group of players in you can. Our numbers are OK there. If a real good player became available … And what I mean by a real good player is a guy that would fit into our camp, be good enough to bring to camp, yes. Otherwise, we are just looking for the best 90 that we can bring to camp. We're comfortable with the outside 'backers we have that we can go to work with next year and play with."
With the injury to McAdoo, who hasn't played in a couple of years, trying to work his way back and just to get hurt … (Matt Vensel)"Just the fact that he got hurt and what happened on it, [I'm] just disappointed for him. You feel bad. Here is a guy that has really done a good job. Again, all year he is in the weight room, and this offseason he is in the weight room. He hasn't played football now in really two years, now it's going to be three years, yet he is not a guy we'll give up on. It's just going to be a project for us. He's going to get another year in the weight room, another year in meetings and try to see if he can be a player next year. It's just disappointing for him. I know how he feels, because he works so hard, but he is not going anywhere. He is still a young guy."
Speaking of the quarterbacks, what have you seen from Tyrod Taylor in his second year? And are you looking to utilize his talents more this season? (Ryan Mink) "We're always looking to utilize everyone's talents. We want to utilize everybody's talents to the max. He's no different than anybody else. We want to develop everybody as much as we can. We want to bring them as far as we can every single day and try to get as much done in one 24-hour period as we can and then just see how it all shakes out. But, Tyrod is a very good player. He's getting better every day. He's going to be a valuable part of our team."
What has he gotten better at in your mind and where has he grown? (Ryan Mink) "He's grown everywhere. Being a quarterback is complicated – there's a lot to it. He's throwing the ball really well. His fundamentals — all of those guys have really improved their fundamentals. But, [he is] just handling the offense, understanding defenses, something that gets talked about every day."
John, other than the difference in the number of people who will be here, will there be any difference in the focus between what you'll try do next week and what you have been trying to do the last three weeks? (Gerry Sandusky) "Not really. There are some different rules that go with it, as far as when the clock starts on the field or how much meeting time you get. We'll apply all that because it's a mandatory camp, and you have some different rules. But the pace of practice will be the same, the rules are the same as far as how you can practice. We'll just work like we always do and try to have a great day. 'What's Important Now?' Today."
John, how has Courtney Upshaw's transition been from college game to what you can see in the pros? (Kris Jones) "It looks good. Courtney, like all the rookies, is making the transition, and it's not an easy transition. The game is faster. Even at that level, the game is played faster and is more complex scheme-wise. But, he's doing real well. He's a good player, and he's going to play well this year."
John, what is your take on the talks with the referees and that situation? Is that a concern for coaches because you obviously want to have the best refs that you can? (Aaron Wilson) "I have no take on that. I've been sworn to silence on that. (laughing) I don't want to get in trouble. I'm sure they'll do the best they can. We'll see what happens. I support them – both sides." (laughter)
G/T Kelechi Osemele
On whether he was able to do any work on the field today or if he just watched: "I mostly watched. I did muscle rehab, and then I came out and watched the guys and just got the mental reps."
On whether he thinks he'll feel well enough to participate next week: "That's just up to my trainers. It's up to 'Smitty' [head athletic trainer Mark Smith] and them. I'm going to let them make that decision, because those are the experts, so I'm just going to kind of take their lead on that one."
On whether his injury is minor: "Yeah, yeah it's minor."
On what he's really picked up on throughout the entire OTA process: "Mostly just the terminology, just the play calls and stuff like that. I'm starting to get those down. I'm noticing a different – well I can't obviously tell you – but basically, just the calls and the terminology is the biggest thing that I've picked up. And also just how important communication is on the offensive line."
On how smooth the transition has been moving back to the guard position:"That's been pretty challenging. It's a lot different having your hand in the ground, and things happen quicker out there. I would say it's more of a mental game in there, because you're right in front of the quarterback, so it's kind of a more mental situation, because there are a lot of games that can go on in the inside, not so much on the outside."
On whether he's spending a lot of time in the playbook right now: "Yeah, pretty much. It's just been extra meeting time with my position coach, and it's a lot of being in my playbook a little bit more."
On whether he's trying to get up to speed as quickly as possible so he can possibly be a starter by the time training camp comes around: "Absolutely. [I'm] just getting up to speed as quick as possible, just so I can contribute to my team and be ready whenever I need to step in and do my thing."
On whether study sessions are a lot different here than they were in college: "I would say it's more structured because there's just a lot more meeting time. There's not really any limit, especially with the rookies, there's no limit to how much we can meet. So, it's more in a structured environment, it's more supervised, and it's kind of like teaching you good habits on how to study film and what to look at the right way so you can build good habits for the future."
On if the coaches have told them how next week may be any different:"Yeah, the speed will pick up. What they're trying to do, they're doing it by phases, and so things will ramp up now that minicamp is over. So, guys will be flying around a lot more, and a lot of that is the vets know what they're doing, and now we know more [about] what we're doing than we did in rookie minicamps. So obviously, that's going to make the speed of the game pick up a little bit."
On whether he's looking forward to playing with the pads on: "You look forward to it a lot, because you get a lot of unrealistic looks. When guys don't have pads, on you can't really get a hold of them or anything, so you look forward to that. It makes it a lot easier on you."
CB Jimmy Smith
On how much the OTAs have meant to him:"I think this helps out tremendously, because like you said, we didn't get this last year. Rookies, last year, kind of got thrown in the fire. This time, we get to learn the defense a lot more, get the plays down, get a feel for everything – the tempo the speed. So, I think it helps, especially our class, out a lot this year."
On head coach John Harbaugh expecting big things from him this year:"I expect the same out of myself. It's tough out here, so I just think that what they say, it's a little bit of pressure, but not too much. I think I can handle it."
On if he expects to compete with CB Cary Williams for a starting position:"Yeah, I just think I am going to go out there, compete and do my best. I am not really worried about who is going to be the starter or not. I know I am going to be playing, so my job right now is just to make sure I can do whatever helps the team."
On where he thinks he has to make the biggest improvements: "I feel like I can get better in every aspect of the game. I don't think I am perfect at any part, so every day I just go out and work on my technique, my speed, my vision. I am supposed to be good at press [coverage], so I work on that, too. Like I said, every part of my game, I think, can be better."
On what he brings to the table in his second year: "Just to add onto what I did last year. Get better, learn the game more. There is still a lot I have to learn, but I think I can improve on a lot of things, like I said. I'm bringing whatever I can to the table."
On if the double-move was one of the hardest things for him to adjust to in the NFL: "No, I have been double-moved before. It's just technique, eyes. It's really just being focused in the game at that particular moment."
On if there are any specific lessons that he can take from his rookie year: "People are fast up here. That's the one thing I really took from last year is that speed really kills up here. That is something I have been working on."
On how he is working on keeping up with the speed of NFL receivers: "My speed. My lateral and back-peddle transition, breaking."
On if he weighs less than last year: "Yeah, actually, I am about 15 pounds lighter than I was last year. I am 201 pounds."
On how much he has leaned on CB Cary Williams and CB Lardarius Webb: "I look up to them a lot, because they have been in the league for a little while, a couple more years than I have. I take little parts of their game and add it to my game and listen to what they say."
On if he dropped the weight to help with his speed: "I think the weight [last year] was kind of the non-offseason, and then flying around to teams [during the draft process], eating a lot and then just jumping right into camp. I was a little out of shape and my weight was heavier. This year, we had a chance to work out, so my weight has been level. It's been the same – 200 pounds."
OLB Courtney Upshaw
On how much of the defense he feels like he's absorbed so far: "I feel I've learned a lot these past few weeks. Coming in, the preparation has been a lot, so we're all trying to get better each and every day, and I feel I'm improving in every aspect of whatever they want me to do."
On whether he's more comfortable each week, each practice with pass drops: "I feel I'm very comfortable with pass drops. The more and more reps I get, the better I get at it."
On his impressions of defensive coordinator Dean Pees so far: "Coach Pees, as a coach in general, I feel he's one of the best. Playing for him is going to be a great experience for me and help my game improve."
On what his biggest takeaway has been from OTAs: "Just getting in and learning the plays, and getting in that weight room, trying to get stronger and just the learning aspects of becoming a pro player and making sure you keep your body right, you stay in shape – stuff like that."
On his mindset going into next week knowing all the veterans will be back:"Just to go in and keep doing what I've been doing – learn the plays, go out and try to help this team improve each and every day."
On how the process of losing a little bit of weight has been going: "Oh, it's been coming along. They keep me in there … I've got to weigh in, report my weight, so it's been coming along."
On how much he has lost: "I've lost 6 to 7 pounds thus far."
On what he's most excited to learn from LB Ray Lewis next week:"Just the fact that I get to play with Ray Lewis and actually get to see him in action and be on the same field with him [is special]."
On how natural his transition has been to the NFL given that he played the "rush" linebacker spot at Alabama: "Just the fact that I played a little bit at Alabama, it helps me, but just learning the terminology here is the key to coming in and getting it done."
On coach [Dean] Pees saying he was using a little bit of Alabama terminology to help him: "Well, the terminology is different in some ways, but with coach Pees, we talked about it, and he said that it's the same thing basically if you really think about it. And actually going back, studying it and repping it is the same way – the technique, everything."
On how quick of an impact he feels he'll be able to make:"Just by getting in the playbook, learning the plays, helping this defense, I feel like I can make an immediate impact. It's just on me to come in and get in that playbook and learn it."
On whether there is anything about the game of football that intimidates him: "I wouldn't say anything intimidates me. It's just the simple fact that it's a physical game, and you've just got to go out and be physical. You can't go and be a pushover in this game."
On whether practice is his time to prove what he's made of on the field: "I would say so. You should want to go out and practice to the best of your ability. Practice makes perfect, and that's what we do here. We come out each and every day and try to get better in practice."
On what is emphasized among his peers about making good decisions: "Well, with [director of player development] Harry Swayne here, we meet every day and we discuss anything and everything to be a better player on and off the field after we're done with football [for the day]. So, we just try to go in there and take that learning and use it. It's going to help us and avoid situations like that."
On whether there is one moment from the field that sticks out about these OTAs so far: "A lot of moments. We're out here just repping it out and trying to get better each and every day. So, I would say a lot of moments."
On whether he is winning a lot of those moments: "Winning some, losing some – just out here trying to get better each and every day. You're going to lose some. You've just got to go back the next play and try to get that win."
On what he'll be doing before next Tuesday or on his off days: "Well, we have practice on Monday. We have rookie practice, OTAs and whatnot, whatever is scheduled. So, I'm doing whatever I have to do to just be prepared for the next day."