Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"Thanks for being here, and we appreciate it. Special thanks to the people who stood over on this side of the building in the rain; you guys gutted it out with us. We appreciate it. For all you people under the awning down there, come on. (laughter) But, it comes to the point of how much fun it is being out here and the fact that we've had five weeks of preparing for these practices. That's what we've been doing. We had Phase One and Phase Two. The league and union have done a really good job setting up a structure where you build the guys into these types of practices, and now we're in OTAs, which is the best part of the offseason. Minicamp is probably even better. This is a step toward the minicamp. So, we get to go out there and we get to have what is pretty close to a football practice. We had one yesterday. We had a beautiful day. We had one today and had an AFC North kind of day, and that was good for us, too. I just mentioned to the guys how good it was to be out there with our guys when you have 90 guys that love football. We had a great practice. Yes, we made mistakes, we didn't do everything right, but we had a bunch of guys running around as hard as they could, doing the best they could on kind of a cold rainy day, which is, that's football weather. That part of it was really great, and I compliment the guys on the work they put in. We're in really good shape as a football team. Not everybody is in 100-percent shape, but for the vast most part, we had a bunch of guys out there that were in the kind of shape they need to be in to come out and practice hard for two hours and not have a lot of pulls or strains or anything like that. We've really been minimal with that, which is a compliment to them – knock on wood – if we can keep that going. Our football team is in very great shape for this time of year.
"As far as injuries, I've got a couple names here. I'll run them by you and then you can help me out if I forget somebody. But Terrence Cody, you know where he's at. He had a hip surgery, a clean-type of surgery. I don't know the terms for it. He's got a chance to be back for training camp. He's rehabbing every day doing a good job with that. [Adrian] Hamilton is back. He had the wrist surgery. As you know, last year he was on the IR, and he's back 100 percent. He looks good. His wrist is a little sore from pushing and pulling, but he looks good. Kapron Lewis-Moore is doing a really good job with the knee. [He has] no effects from the knee surgery, and he looks good out there. [Kelechi Osemele] looks good; he's 100 percent. He's fine from the back. Bernard Pierce started doing some stuff today. He wasn't in any of the team stuff, but he was in individual, was catching the ball. [He] may be a little bit ahead of schedule, maybe. [It's] just the fact that we really didn't expect him to do that at this point, so he's really working hard. Aaron Mellette was out there today. He's been on and off. He's had the knee. It's been flaring up and swelling up when he works doing different things. He was out there today and looked good, and we'll see how he responds tomorrow. We had some issues. [Michael] Campanaro pulled a hamstring on the second day, which was really disappointing. He's working hard to get back. Hopefully, he'll be back next week as soon as possible. I'm on him pretty hard about it. Local boy – he needs to be out there. And then [James] Hurst is fine with a broken leg [sustained at the end of his collegiate season]. There are no remnants of that. And Brent Urban has been out there the last couple of days practicing as well. He had a little scar tissue thing yesterday, which actually made it feel better today, so we'll see where he's at tomorrow. That's where we're at with the injuries."
Anything with Jah Reid? (Jamison Hensley)"Jah strained his calf last week, so he'll be out probably for a couple weeks. We'll see how he does. Thanks. Anybody else I forgot or am missing? Yes, Terrence [Cody] had a hip surgery."
John, do you get the feeling that Joe [Flacco] is pretty excited about the new offense with [Gary] Kubiak? He's got a few new receivers, ready to turn the page from last year.* (Dave Ginsburg)*"Yes, I think so. I read the article that was on the website, so it sounded like he was pretty fired up. I asked him about it today, and he's very business-like about it right now. He's not … I don't think he's walking around here giggling or anything. He's just going to work. He has a lot to learn. There's a lot of offense on his plate right now. There's a lot of communication. It's all different terminology than he's ever had before. The concepts are the same, but they're organized in a different way, so he has to learn that. He is going to have to learn how to operate it. Another thing that is something he really has to work on is the footwork. Tying the footwork to the reads in a different system is a new thing for a quarterback. So I know he understands the read progressions. He has to tie the footwork to the reads and just do it over and over again and become really good at it. There's a lot of work for him and everybody to do, and he's working hard at it."
How do you guys handle the radio noise about Joe [Flacco] over the last few months? (Glenn Younes)"I'm not aware of it. No, I find that's the best way to handle it, actually. I'll put my head in the sand on the radio, and we'll be good."
What do you think about how [Jeremy] Zuttah is coming along? (Aaron Wilson)"Jeremy Zuttah is doing a great job. He's smart – really smart, really mature [and] goes about his business in a mature way. I'm just very impressed with how smart he is. He's very quick. He's about 305, 306 pounds. He looks good physically in there. But he can move, so we'll see. It's going to be interesting to watch him play to see if he can prove himself."
Where as a coach do you find the motivation to get Steve Smith, Sr., to play at his highest level? (Chris Miller)"He's motivated. I don't think we have to find any motivation for Steve Smith. It's not like we have to give Steve Smith a rah-rah pep talk every day. He's out here ready to go. Steve loves football, he loves competing, he's a leader. I love what he's doing with our guys in the meeting room, watching him coach younger guys up on some things. One thing you notice about Steve, just on a football note – and this is something all of our receivers can learn from him – he's one of the best receivers ever at going back and getting a football. He's not a big guy, but he plays with tremendous range, not just up and down, but back to the ball. So, he comes out of a route and he goes back to the ball with his feet, but he also goes back to the ball with his hands. He can chase and out-run a defender to the ball, so it's a little thing, but it's a pretty important trait for a wide receiver."
John, how concerned were you about recent off-the-field situations, and what can you do to remedy those problems? (Mike Preston)"I'm very concerned, always concerned. We talk to those guys all the time, and I'm disappointed in some of the silliness that's going on. Guys are young, but we talked to them yesterday. A couple things we told them yesterday, was first of all, you've got to understand that while you may be 22, 23, 25, 26, it's not like you're your 22- and 23-year-old buddies. You're not in the same position that they're in. You have to grow up faster than your pals, so you can't go home and run around with your pals and think you're in the same place that they're in. It's a privilege to have a job like this. It's a privilege to be in the National Football League. Yes, you've earned it, and you're going to have to earn staying in this league. It's never a given. Character is very important to us. Character really matters to us. We think that everything you do on the field, or off the field, has an impact on what you do on the field, and vice versa. Discipline is not like a light switch. You can't just walk out of this building and all of the sudden turn it off and then go out back here and turn it on. Football, discipline is a way of life. Football, discipline, life discipline – it's all the same thing. It's pretty hard to be successful in any walk of life without great self-discipline. When it starts showing up in other areas of your life, to me, that's a major red flag for where you're going as a football player. So, we talk to those guys. We tried to get out in front of it with those guys. There have been a number of things that haven't been, over the years, haven't been public that guys have moved on from this team for. Your spot is never guaranteed on any football team or in any job. You have to know how to carry yourself and handle yourself [and it] is going to be reflected in how many opportunities you get to do your job. Our guys need to understand that."
Coach, you can't watch that 24/7, especially when you're away from the team and not legally allowed to speak to them. One of the common denominators, it seems, has been alcohol. Is that something that was addressed? (Jerry Coleman)"Yes, that's the thing. We talked about that. I mentioned that at the owners' meetings. To me, if you look at everything that's happened, 90 percent, it seems to me – and I don't have any facts for this – but it's going to be 90 percent alcohol and another percentage of marijuana. One of those two things is going to be involved, and that goes back to what we were just talking about. You don't do the right thing just because you call a cab, OK? You haven't done the right thing. I'd rather have you do that than get in a car and get behind the wheel, but how about we start off with the idea that we're not going to go out and drink? How about if we start off with that? Because the other side of the coin is that we are supposed to be world-class athletes. That is not what I would call an effective training method right there, to go out and drink too much. So it starts with that. We expect those guys to chase a high standard, and we're going to do everything we can to hold them accountable. Two things, just thinking about this: 'OK, where do you stand as a football coach with guys?' Because we're trying to be the very best football team that we can be. Nobody is perfect. Guys will make mistakes. But at some point in time, your mistakes begin to impact us in a negative way. And when the negativity over-balances your ability to help our football team, you're not going to be here anymore. Or if we can't trust your character anymore, then you can't be a part of what we're doing anymore. And that goes for everybody. That's not just for players – that's coaches, that's scouts, that's everybody that works in our league. It should be that way."
**Have you found yourself having to address that more with the guys after this offseason? *(Morgan Adsit) *"Well, yes. I think we've had to address it more. There have been a lot more phone calls this year than other years in the offseason to find out what the heck some guys are thinking at times. What I'm most concerned with is that … I understand guys will make mistakes. We don't want that first mistake, but you sure as heck better not be a repeat offender making mistakes, whether it's on the field or off the field. I saw Ray's [Rice] press conference, for instance. I've been talking to Ray, and I know that question is coming, but I've been talking to Ray ever since what happened happened. I'm very disappointed in what he did, but no more so than Ray. I watched the press conference – I didn't watch it, I actually read it – and I felt like I appreciated what he said and the fact that he stood up and said what he said. When he used the term, 'failed miserably,' that hit home with me. But like all those guys, it's what you do going forward. That's what everybody is going to take a look at it. The other thing that I told our guys that I think is interesting [is that] it's a different world than what a lot of us grew up [in]. We could make a lot of mistakes sometimes and nobody would know about it. It's not like that anymore. DeAngelo Tyson just had a baby, a little girl. She has jaundice, but she's going to be OK. They put her under the blue lights and she's going to be OK. But one of the things that we just happened to mention at the team meeting today was the fact that 12, 15 years from now, DeAngelo's daughter is going to Google her dad's name, and it's going to come up. 'As a father, what's she going to read about me someday?' Because it's all going to be there and it's never going away, the way it works now with technology. We all need to be conscious of that. And these guys who are younger maybe aren't thinking that way. They need to be, because it's a different world from the one we grew up in."
**John, is there a price to pay for the team overall? Some of the freedoms as a whole that the team has enjoyed in training camp, where you have to do something to get people's attention? *(Steve Davis) *"Those things will be on the table definitely. It comes down to trust. Maybe we're a younger team now in some ways and maybe some of those things will be addressed in training camp. We've always had curfews and we've always had a tight rein on training camp, but maybe we need to keep the older guys in a training-camp environment longer, potentially. I haven't thought about that, per se, but those are the kinds of things that are always on the table. You try to communicate with guys and make your point any way you can. Lorenzo [Taliaferro] and I, we've had some conversations since what happened, but we also ran 18 full gassers out there together on Tuesday when we got back, and it was pretty hot. Was that punishment? No. I was going to do the workout anyway, but I needed some company. He needed to keep up with me. He did a good job, and he was very respectful and he worked hard at it. You just try to get through in a lot of different ways, and the one you're talking about is definitely one of them."
As far as Ray [Rice] out on the field, what can you say about him? (Jamison Hensley)"He looks good. It's not really total football right now, so I really can't say; you can't say that much. He's in shape, he's worked hard that way, and he's excited to get out there. The football field is a place, it's a safe haven for him right now, and he likes being out there. But he needs to do a good job, just like they all do."
What about with [Gary] Kubiak's offense? How long has it taken to install? (Steve Davis) "To install it, it doesn't take more than one year. The thing I like about what Coach Kubiak is doing, it's a very straightforward offense. It's very clear-cut. That helps. That helps maybe get guys up to speed as quick as possible. But yes, there are always nuances, and you have to experience things sometimes. That's probably what Cam [Cameron] was talking about [several years ago]. I'd like to think that we'll be better at it a year from now than where we are this year, but we can't be thinking about it that way. We've got to get great at it right now, because we're going to be playing a football game very soon. It happens to be the Cincinnati Bengals, who won our division last year, so that's what we're looking at and that's what we've got to be ready for."
When you talk about Joe's footwork, is it more because the offense has changed? (Mike Preston)"It's all those things, I would say, but within the read progressions, every offense has a unique way of tying the footwork to the progressions. Even though those routes a lot of times are the same, the progressions aren't quite the same. Or how the quarterback coach or offensive coordinator asks you to use your feet to get you from one progression to the next, it's not a lot different from what he's been doing in the past, but it's a little bit different. The West Coast Offense is very – more than any offense I'm that familiar with – is very tight end [-oriented], ties the footwork reads into the reads more than any other one, and it's very straightforward. It's very black and white for the quarterback, and that's what Joe is learning right now. It is that, but it's also the boots. It's also the keepers and the play-action passes, too."
Question on Kelechi Osemele (Aaron Wilson)"When we were in practice, after practice yesterday, he was the one guy … I mentioned all the guys [at the start of this presser]; I thought they all really worked hard, and it was hot out there, too. But [Kelechi Osemele] jumped out at me. K.O. was really practicing fast, sprinting back to the huddle or back to the line when he was done after every single play, almost making a point to condition himself during practice. He's in really exceptional condition."
Is [Ryan] Jensen a potential option at depth for tackle? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Oh, you were watching practice today! You noticed, alright. Yes, we moved Ryan [Jensen] … Obviously we moved him, but he's getting reps at both right tackle and left tackle. We're going to put him in the mix out there and see how he does. He played tackle in college, so he's comfortable out there, mentally, it seems like. We'll see if he's a fit out there also. It'll just give us more competition."
But [Ryan Jensen] could potentially play all five positions though? (Jamison Hensley)"Potentially. That will be narrowed down soon, but…"
Coach, could you see you guys being a little active next week adding to your roster? (Jason La Canfora) "Sure, and I think we're aware of the guys that are still out there, free agents that would be more favorable to sign after June 1 and all that. We're going to be watching the waiver wire real close. We're going to try and get better. We had a conversation, Ozzie [Newsome] and I today, and I like to think on principle that we really believe this: We want to build as strong of a 53-man roster as we possibly can, and as we do that, try to get stronger every chance we can get. We'll be looking."
Coach, you talked about practice time being completed in the new CBA. How much of that is a loss for you guys and is it important for the guys to group up on their own in the offseason to get together? (Glenn Younes)"The biggest issue is the offensive line that way. The offensive line is the toughest thing, with the combination of the technique and the assignments to develop a cohesive group. It might be the most important thing to do in a quarterback-driven sport and league. We do want to keep the quarterbacks healthy. We do. Those guys are very important to what makes football football, but their first of protectors is the offensive line, and it takes a lot of time to develop those guys. So, we have to be very creative to find ways to coach those guys as well as we can and build a system where they can execute and keep the quarterback on his feet. I just think that for us, as coaches, the thing we have to look at – without getting into the politics – is how we can best use time and try to do it better than the other teams doing it so we can win football games and be better than the other guy."
Do you think that getting guys together off the field is the tipping point to getting ready? (Glenn Younes)"I don't know if it's the tipping point. It surely doesn't hurt if our guys can do that. Different teams do that in different ways, and quarterbacks run that in different ways based on systems and things like that. I'm always for guys working hard. I've always been encouraging guys to work as hard as they can."
What are your first impressions of Steve Smith, Sr., fitting into the Ravens' DNA? (Nate Davis)"Steve Smith fitting into the Ravens' DNA? Well, I think he fits in. He's our kind of guy in a lot of ways. We're getting to know him and he's getting to know us, but we – he and I as just two guys – we go back way. We go back to when he was coming out of the draft as a return guy, so we've had a relationship for a lot of years. I feel real comfortable being around him, and I just like what he stands for. I like the competitor. I like the fire in him – the toughness. But I also think he's a really good player. And I'll say this: Watching him out at practice, he's still a really good player. There's no doubt. He's going to help us a lot. I'm excited about him."
Closing statement:"One last thing, just a final note: Going through the offseason, as we get started here, I want to reiterate what a great organization we have, just top to bottom. Guys like Kevin [Byrne], Steve [Bisciotti] and Ozzie [Newsome] and the scouts and everything like that. I'm proud to be part of this organization. I know you guys feel good about covering it, and thanks for what you guys do. Let's have a great year."
QB Joe Flacco
On if this season feels like a whole new beginning with all of the new pieces:"It's still the offseason, going through OTAs and trying to learn things. There is always something you're trying to learn during OTAs no matter what, and somebody that is new, that you're trying to get used to and that's going to have to have success for you on the team this year. This year is a little bit different, obviously. It's probably more similar to my rookie year, I guess, because you're learning a new offense, you've got a couple new players and things like that. But, it's not quite that, because I have played a handful of years and have been in an offense. So, you're able to pick things up probably a little bit quicker, but it's exciting. I'm excited about it. It brings some new challenges, and that makes it fun."
On what he thinks about when he looks back on last season and what he'd like to improve upon:"It was not a good year all around. We did not win enough football games, and the biggest thing is just not taking care of the football. That's my No. 1 job – it always has been – and it's always going to be a focus of mine. I just need to make sure I do a good job of doing it."
On what has been the process of learning offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's offense:"It's really just been trying to learn the playbook and coming here. That's why we've been here in the offseason – just going in there and installing the offense throughout the first couple weeks and then getting to the point where we were going on the field and running it, and installing it again. Now we're back to the point where we're kind of starting over with the OTAs and installing it again. So, the fact that we're sitting here in meetings, looking at some pictures, hearing coaches talk about it, looking at some clips here and there, getting a feel for it when you're coming out here and running routes on air versus when you're actually running things against a defense. There is a process to the whole thing, and I think it's going pretty smoothly so far. I think everybody is doing a great job of grasping it. We'll just see how far we can take it over these next couple weeks and into training camp."
On how much of the offense is catered toward what he does as a quarterback:"I have no idea. I feel like I fit well into any offense. It's just a matter of learning it and doing what I can do to the best of my ability and making sure that what I'm doing well is what the offensive coordinator wants, and what the quarterback coach wants. I want to run the offense the way it is supposed to be run and make some plays here and there when they need to be made. But the biggest thing is doing what you're supposed to do, going to the right place with the ball with the right coverages. That's just learning the offense and listening to your coach and making sure you get comfortable doing it that way."
On if he is just learning the offense or if he has input into how it is installed:"I am just learning it. They are going through their install. Shoot, I don't know how long Gary has been doing this offense, but it's been a long time. He' knows the best way to install it for everybody. I guess a lot of it is about me, but it's also about the team and learning the offense and how comfortable we can be as a group running this thing. I have to have trust that he can install his offense – which obviously I would trust that – and go with it from there. He's calling the plays, he's sitting in the back, and getting a good feel for what we do well and what maybe we don't. But yes, he's just putting the plays in and we're going out there and doing them and trying to be successful."
On if he put on any old-school film to see what the West Coast offense was all about:"No. I figured it was another offense [and] I'd learn it while I was here and move on."
On if there is an aspect to this offense that excites him or jumps out at him:"Not necessarily. I'm just excited about the opportunity to go out there and start a new year and have some guys that are ready to go. It's always a little bit different when you have some new guys; there's a freshness to it. It kind of has a way of getting you a little more excited, I guess. We're just getting into it, and I'm trying to remember the play from [quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison], to the huddle, to make sure I get it called right so I don't look like an idiot."
On his initial impressions of WR Steve Smith, Sr., and TE Owen Daniels:"They are good players. They speak for themselves; I don't have to say much about those guys. They've done it for a pretty good amount of time for both of them, and they're obviously very good players."
On having a pretty good receiving corps to work with:"There is no doubt about it. We've got some weapons out there. These guys can all run, they can all go get the ball, and they can all catch. They are strong; they are physical – every single one of them. I feel really good about where we are out there."
On being criticized for the work he did this offseason and how he responds to critics:"I have no idea. I am going to go out there and play; I'm going to know the offense. The last problem that we're going to have is myself [not] knowing exactly what everybody is going to do on the field. That's never a concern."
On if his footwork has been one of the biggest changes to learning the new offense:"I don't think your footwork really changes. It's just a matter of tying everything into each other, making sure that it's as perfect as it can be in practice so that you don't drift too far away from that in games when things can get a little bit tough. Like I said, it's all the same footwork, it's just making sure that you tie it into your reads and that you can do it spot on in practice, in routes versus the air, so that when things break down a little bit, you're ready to go, you're still set and you're ready to throw."
On his reaction to some of the recent off-field incidents involving his teammates and if he chooses to say something to those players:"I've never felt like we've really had a problem around here. I probably couldn't even tell you a couple of the incidents. But I can tell you – the ones I know – the guys are good guys. They've probably been in the wrong situation. Drinking is probably never a great thing or a great idea. It's something that teams have to deal with. The biggest thing is to support those guys and help them through the situation. Obviously, when it becomes a re-occurring theme, you don't like that and you have to make sure that you get your point across to everybody. But hopefully it will stop. Like I said, we haven't really had a problem with that since I've been here – at least with it re-occurring and continuing to happen with the guys. Hopefully we don't see that and we can put an end to all that stuff."
On if he likes the terminology to the new offense:"I think it will help everybody. We'll be able to get in and out of the huddle. Everybody will have a good idea of what they're doing. I think everybody is picking it up really well, so I think that's just a testament to how the terminology is and how it hits everybody's brain. I think it's a pretty good way of calling things, just because I haven't really seen too many guys have trouble with picking the offense up so far."
On if veterans ever give advice to younger players on what to avoid off the field: "Most of the guys probably aren't necessarily here until April. But yes, there are some veteran guys who [give advice]. All kinds of guys have probably been in some kind of situation when they were in their early 20s that they can advise guys on who are now in their early 20s, and these guys have matured a little bit. And they can probably give them a little bit of insight on what to do and what not to do. What kind of places to show up to and what kind of places not to show up to. Now, they can lend those guys their opinions, and sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't work. I don't know if I'm the best guy to really look at for that, because I'm usually sitting at home. I don't even usually hear about the thing until I get back here, because I'm just kind of out of touch. There are probably some pretty good guys on our team who can give you advice on those things, because they've matured over the years and have looked back on some of those things and have grown from them."
On FB Kyle Juszczyk being a "gadget" guy and if that's fun for him: "Kyle is a good athlete, and he can play. I think it will be a good position for him."
WR Steve Smith, Sr.
On his first impressions of the Baltimore Ravens:"It's good; it's great. It's a little different. Being in practice and seeing the workouts, you kind of start to see the 'why' and 'what' in the philosophy here. So, it's pretty cool to be a part of that kind of city."* *
On his thoughts on QB Joe Flacco now that they've spent some time on the field together:"I've been an admirer of him, even just watching him in college at Delaware and then coming into the draft. You know, as a wide receiver you always kind of look at the quarterbacks in the draft every year to see which guys [have potential] and what they say about whom. One thing about him that I noticed, just coming out of college – how I evaluate a quarterback – is if he's on the other hash and you run a comeback, where's your ball placement? Is the ball hitting the guy at the ankles, or is he hitting him in the chest? Far a hash, 20-yard comeback, it's pretty close. The number is high, so that's always a good telltale sign of a good quarterback."* *
On what kind of ball Flacco throws:"He throws a lot of good, easy balls that you can snag [with] one hand. It makes it look good, so I like those." (laughter)
On what the process has been in building timing and chemistry with Flacco:"It's a work in progress for me. I'm new and there's a new system. It's a lot to get in to, so I'm trying to run my routes as best I can without thinking too much, but still also get familiar with the positioning and the timing that [offensive coordinator Gary] Kubiak wants, and then get on the same page with Joe as well. So we're both learning the system and learning each other."* *
On how capable he feels this offense can be with all of the new weapons added this offseason:"I think we're going to be a pretty good offense. Obviously, there are reasons why [they were] where they were last year, and those steps were taken with personnel and also with coaches. They wanted to advance, and I think we're moving in the right direction."
On what still motivates him to play at such a high level:"Competition. I love competition. And also, obviously [the media] always seems to have something to say, have a comment. So, I love to read those and like to serve a little humble pie to you once I do a little bit compared to what you think." *(laughter)
On if he uses stuff like that to motivate him:"No, not necessarily [to] motivate. To be honest, with technology now, people say and write things and your name is tagged, and then all of a sudden it's an alert on your phone. So, it's not necessarily that I'm looking for it; it's just that day and age."
On his impressions of the Baltimore so far:"It's an older city compared to Charlotte, and so with Carolina being out there, you get to see a city grow – you get to see a city advance. Here, it's already established; they have historical places and things, so that part is pretty neat and I haven't seen that before, obviously outside of [Los Angeles] growing up. So, it's really nice to see the historical part and see some of the things that you see in movies that may be presented [in such] a way, and you see it and it's really cool. So, I'm really enjoying that part."
On if he has a preference of where he lines up on the field:"Yes, inside of the white lines. *(laughter) *If you're outside the white lines, you're not lined up. *(laughter) *Honestly, [I just enjoy] being on the field at the end of the day. If I'm lined up out wide or in the slot, it doesn't really matter. I think at my age, you have to be able to be adjustable, and I think a lot of older guys, they get set in their ways and they think and they know, 'This is the only spot I can play.' For me, I come in there [and say], 'Where am I needed?' And wherever I'm needed, I'm going to play that spot well, but I'm going to exceed expectations. I want to be able to play slot, I want to be able to play outside, and so that's what I want to do."
On how he sees his personality meshing with QB Joe Flacco's:"To be honest, on the football field I'm a different … It's not like you're out there sharing cookie recipes – it's an aggressive game. Outside of the football field, I'm quiet, I'm minding my business, I'm low-key, I'm laid back. I enjoy family time and I enjoy hanging out. I enjoy pranks and having fun. But on the field, it's business. That's what I'm brought here for, is to play and to play well, and that's what I expect. I expect that out of myself, and I know I'm new here, but I expect that out of the people that are around me."
On saving a scouting report from *The Sporting News *after he was drafted and if he uses that as fuel to this day:"No, honestly, when you're coming out as a rookie, you save that stuff because you can't get that back. But at the same time, it was said and I just thought it was convenient that 14 years later, people still have something to say. I find it interesting … I actually find it very interesting how we go in the draft every year, and people don't really understand the words that you write and how that impacts an individual. And you say you're 'reporting' it, but you're really judging a person's line of work. And then when we start to judge your line of work, you get defensive. So, I just thought I'd point that out – that the people that sit in front of those TVs and all that and they talk about a guy and then they pass over it, then you get a little sensitive when its brought back up."
On the perception from some that his best days as a football player are behind him:"The sense of urgency, I could really care less about that. The [defensive back] that's going to be sitting in front of me, he's going to find out how much I have left in the tank, and he'll find out real quick."
On what has been his favorite part about coming to a new team this season:"Honestly, being here and being in Carolina, I appreciate both places. I appreciate what I learned in Carolina, but I also appreciate where I am now. There aren't too many 35-year-olds that are getting recruited to play for five or six other teams. So, I look at that and I say, 'I must be doing something right.' I appreciate both places, but I have to have been where I was to appreciate where I am today. And I appreciate it, and I'm enjoying it. It's a nice place to be."
On if there were one or two things that sort of opened his eyes about being with a new team:"Yes, there is, but I'm not going to say. I'm trying not to burn any bridges back there. I'm enjoying this up here."
On being a new player to the Ravens but if he feels the need to talk to any of his teammates about the recent off-field issues taking place:"Nobody really cares what you have to say until they really know if you care. So, I'll sit down and I'll talk to guys and get to know them. You can't come in there and [say], 'Hey, let me tell you this is what you're supposed to do,' and all that stuff. You're being hypocritical. For me, I'll sit down – and I've had dinner with guys – and I'll get to know them, know who they are, know where they're from, know what school they went to. You've got to go through a little … You've got to break it down and get to know them first before you just start telling them what they need to do, because that's not how it works."
On if he has any dinner plans with QB Joe Flacco:"No, to be honest, my days have been – prior to this – have been looking for a place to stay, learning how to get here, learning the streets, and then, honestly, reading my playbook. Like last night, I know guys were watching the basketball game; the basketball game was watching me. I fell asleep studying, woke up studying, and got here. So, I really haven't had too much time to stay up late, just because I'm behind the eight-ball a little bit because I've got to learn the offense, and I missed a few days on my trip."
On what he feels makes this offense unique and what appealed to him to sign here:"The offense – outside of the players; great quarterback already established, wide receiver group – and the offense was a seller. I knew coach [John] Harbaugh for a very long time, but when I heard and saw that they were bringing in coach [Gary] Kubiak, I knew that was somebody that I wanted to play underneath, because I know how explosive [they are] and what they do and how they play football."
On if he is excited to play with WR Torrey Smith and WR Jacoby Jones:"That's great. They can run deep routes and I'll run short routes. That's a great combination. *(laughter) *But, it's fun. They're great guys, too. I like them. We like joking around, and it's going to be exciting and fun and just be able to relax."
On if guys getting in trouble off the field affect the preparation and chemistry in the locker room at all:"No. I think that affects that individual that has to go through that process. We all, as professionals, just like you guys, we all have things that we have to deal with. Whoever that individual may have to go there … My wife's having a baby, so we've all got a lot of things we have to juggle. So, that affects that individual and how they handle it."
CB Lardarius Webb
On how he felt being out there at practice and how it's going so far: "Practice is good, I'm glad. It's kind of fun to get back with the guys. [I'm] happy to see some of the faces around here. One thing, the guys are having a good time. I'm going hard, just trying to get back on track."
On how he feels about competing with WR Steve Smith, Sr.: "Yes, it's fun, but competitive. The guy is as strong as an ox, and that helps me out, to get prepared for the season. He runs great routes and he's making me better, and I'm making him better, too, because I'm challenging him, just like he's challenging me. We just want to be great – us both. That's both of our mindsets."
On how good it feels to be out there compared to last year and missing this time due to a knee injury: "It feels good; it feels more bouncy. [I'm] just happy to be on the field, running around with no pain. [I'm] just trying to take over my leadership role that I can in the back end and just be me."
On what last year was like for him working his way back from an injury: "It was about the middle of the season [before I felt normal]. At first, I was just trying to get the trust back again. I couldn't plant when I wanted to, couldn't do the things I wanted to do, couldn't jump. Everything just wasn't as fast as I wanted it to be. And then, towards the end of the season, it just started coming back natural, as I kept working on it."
On what he feels capable of now, being a year removed from injury: "I am capable of being a lockdown [cornerback], like I am. I'm just ready for the season and will just keep on working. I'm going to get back to where I'm supposed to be."
On if he sees a renewed excitement in QB Joe Flacco with the new offensive system and receiving corps: "Yes, he's got so many weapons out there with that new offense. They're running all types of routes. They've got us on our toes. But, I see Joe being Joe. He's still that Super Bowl MVP that I see, making those throws that I don't see all the quarterbacks making. But with these weapons, bringing Steve Smith and Owen Daniels and bringing back a healthy [Dennis] Pitta – it's going to be a big year for Joe."
On how excited he is with the fact that three defensive players were drafted in the first three rounds this year and how good he feels the defense can be:"Oh, it's going to be great. As soon as we get those young guys, roll them around, it's going to be big time. We brought in a safety, Darian Stewart – he's big with learning the defense and also helping Terrence [Brooks] with his stuff. The person who is just really growing is Matt Elam. From last year to this year, I see a big jump with his leadership, with him controlling the back end and just being that safety, controlling the calls. I just really like where I see him going."
On how S Matt Elam is showing his growth: "Just being more vocal. [He is] not really [having] that many mental [mistakes], but when he is being vocal, he's confident in what he's saying. If he makes a call, that's the call, and you're going to play it. Last year, he wasn't like that; James [Ihedigbo] kind of did it. He's taking that role now."
On if he seems Elam being more comfortable overall at this point: "I'm seeing him just taking control – just taking control with communicating with the linebackers and with me. Last year, I was a veteran, so I guess he didn't communicate with me like he wanted to. Now, if he says it, it's what he says – we play what he says. It's just how he speaks; he speaks with confidence now, and you can just tell."
On what he sees from CB Chykie Brown and CB Asa Jackson: "They're going to be big for us coming up this year, knowing that we didn't take any corners in the draft. [General manager & executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] knows he has two great, young guys that are coming up. You've got Asa Jackson who can play the nickel and outside, but mostly better inside. And Chykie Brown has been playing good. He's had his chance to get out on the field and [gain] experience, but now he gets thrown in and it's his. He's going to get to show you all what he's capable of."
On his impression of rookie S Terrence Brooks:"My impression is that they picked a good third-round draft pick with him. Florida State guys – both of the Florida State guys – have been very impressive to me. [DT Timmy] Jernigan has been in the backfield, I know we don't have pads on, but his explosiveness and power [are impressive]. With both of them, I see that we've got two good draft picks. And I'm a 'Roll Tide' [Alabama] fan, so you really can't just ask me about C.J. [Mosley], because I'm going to praise him until the end."
On what he expects from his charity softball game this Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium: "The game – all of you are welcome to my game on Sunday. It's going to be a beautiful day. I even got coach John [Harbaugh who] is going to come out. I don't know if he's going to play yet, but he said he's going to come out and support us and be around. So, I'm thankful for that. It's going to be offense vs. defense, and it's going to be a great, competitive game. We'll keep everybody safe, but it's going to be a great experience, and I feel thankful just to have it in [M&T Bank] Stadium."