Head Coach John Harbaugh
You haven't played a preseason game in quite a while, but also, you haven't lost a preseason game [in quite a while]. You guys have won 17-straight preseason games. Does that mean anything to have that long streak? (Jamison Hensley) "It means a lot. Whether it's a winning streak or just the idea of how you approach the games. We play our guys … We play our starters less than most teams, usually. We don't …. We just run our installs, so it's not like we're game-planning for anybody. We don't practice against our opponents at all in the preseason ever. We might walk-through. That's all we would do just to have an idea of what plays they'd run – that's it. So, I just think it's a credit to the players in terms of preparation and the coaches over the years in terms of we run a good training camp, offseason program, and guys are ready to play good fundamental football. That's what wins, whether it's preseason, the [regular] season or whatever it might be. But we're playing a really good Saints team. They're going to come in there ready. Coach Sean Payton does a great job with those guys. They're going to be fundamentally sound. They're going to play super hard and it's going to be a big challenge for us. The main thing is the challenge for us in making sure we're competing against ourselves in terms of how we play, and that's what we work on."
When you get to this point in training camp, two weeks in, you've seen young guys – whether you're talking draft picks, rookie free agents or whatever – performing well. Is there an extra excitement level as a coach now going into a game setting and seeing how that translates for the guys that are kind of impressing in this setting? (Luke Jones) "Absolutely. I mean, you can't wait to see the guys in a game setting. It's time. We're ready. We've been ready for a few days. I can't wait to get out there and watch these guys go. It'll be electric on the sideline. Hey, we'll have fans in the stands. The whole thing is going to be just a great time."
Have you made a decision whether QB Lamar Jackson will play Saturday night? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I have, but I'm not sharing any of that, probably. We have a rotation for every different person. Generally, we kind of balance it out among our starters. Every preseason game is pretty much the same, but for specific players, age-related, position-related, we'll approach it individually that way."
I know you've had a quite a few guys get some vet days the last couple of days, but T Alejandro Villanueva and FB/DL Patrick Ricard, are they OK? I know they've missed the last two. (Luke Jones) "Yes, those are vet days. They both have little things they're dealing with, so I gave them an extra day today. We had a number of other guys that had a vet day. Marlon [Humphrey] had a vet day." (Reporter: "Tavon Young?") "Tavon [Young] had a vet day. … [Rashod] Bateman, to give you the announcement on Bateman. He actually is getting a surgery either today or tomorrow or Friday on his groin. He'll be back from that sometime in September. So, I think that's pretty good news."
You have a team that has a lot of character personalities. They like to celebrate, and the NFL recently talked about taunting rules and how they want to become more strict regarding them. How do you approach that with their players that they're allowed to celebrate and have that personality, but you don't want to be penalized during the season for celebrations that turn into taunting? (Kyle Barber) "Absolutely, we'd never want that. We've been good about that. We never really had that. If you watch our celebrations, there are really none that we've had to have coaching points on that I've seen. Our guys do it with each other. I think you want to celebrate in the spirit of the team; you celebrate together. We don't have taunting; I haven't seen that. Well, except for the one against Tennessee. I wasn't upset about that. I think we'll be fine. Our guys are good about it. … It just came to my head. I was like, 'We didn't have any,' but that's not true. We did have the one. I'm sure you guys might have brought that up."
The transition T Alejandro Villanueva had made from left tackle to right tackle. For a guy at his age to do it as smoothly as he's made it look, what does that say about the kind of player that he is? (Jonas Shaffer) "It says a lot about the kind of player that he is. He does, he looks good. He gets better. He's such a hard worker. It matters so much to him. He's like we said, all football, all the time – it's all he's thinking about. So, I'm excited to see him play. I'm excited to see how he does this year."
With his background, I know you have an affinity with the military throughout your years here. Is it nice to have a guy that actually has firsthand experience with that? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, he's actually a guy … We talk a lot about it, but this man over here has actually done it. I always run my military terms by him. I used to talk to the guys with great confidence about my military terms, because I knew nobody knew anything. Now I have a guy that knows something, so I have to say to him, 'This is right, right?'" (laughter)
T Alejandro Villanueva
On if there is a comparison he'd use to describe switching form left tackle to right tackle: "I think these are usually the clichés that a lot of the football players utilize – using the right hand, left hand to … Yes. … I'm not sure. It's definitely difficult for the motor system to adjust, but you keep following the same principles that you followed to play left tackle. And so, you try to stick to those and just play based on principles and fundamentals and techniques, and those are the same for left and right."
On how it felt to put on a Ravens jersey for the first time: "Yes, obviously it's been crazy to play for another franchise after being so comfortable in Pittsburgh. The training camp is the same, teammates. I think the Steelers are a franchise that banks on continuity and doing things the same way, and so, getting out of that comfort zone, it sort of reminded me of my roots in the NFL and how I came to the league and the path that I had to take. I was very comfortable. I remember with [former Eagles head coach] Chip Kelly in Philadelphia, and I became really good friends with everyone – Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry. I had an amazing D-line room, and then one day, I was the first one to be cut, and then I had to start all over again. And I remember going to Pittsburgh and being like, 'Oh, I don't know any of those teammates. The organization is new.'
"Ultimately, this is the 18th city I've lived in in my life, so I've done the transition many, many times in my life. I've been the new kid at school, and so this feels more natural than anything else."
On his relationship with G Kevin Zeitler: "Oh, it's awesome, because we've had sort of pillar careers, seen each other across the sideline, and we've played in some great games, especially when Pittsburgh and Cincinnati were top of the AFC North during my early years. And so, it's been awesome talking to somebody who's had a different journey and has been accumulating a lot of wealth and knowledge. And now he's here; he's sharing it with the O-line, and we were able to hear stories from somebody who is actually in the locker rooms."
On joining a Ravens team that has a chance to be really good: "Oh, for sure, for sure. I think every single person would agree – especially you, the media – that interacts with football players and coaches that when you're winning, and things are working, your life is a lot better. It doesn't matter the position that you're playing. It doesn't matter the scheme. At the end of the day, when you win, there's a lot of good energy in the building, everybody's in a good mood, and it makes your life a lot better. So, I guess I place my bets based on the organizational value and how that's going to translate in wins, hopefully in the future."
On the difference of this training camp: "This training camp is tough. It's a challenging, yet very rewarding, training camp, because it truly brings you back to your routes of the hardest situation that you've ever been in, and you have to overcome it, and you have to focus on fundamentals, techniques and whatnot. So, it definitely reminds me of the good old college days of being really physical at practice, trying to win, try to beat the defense, and you really get yourself in shape for the battle, the best way you can."
On rookie OLBs Daelin Hayes and Odafe Oweh: "Daelin Hayes has an unbelievable motor. I think that's going to help him a lot. I think a lot of times, the play seems to be over, and then it's never over for him, so that's his greatest asset. And then Odafe [Oweh] is possibly the fastest player on the football field, and he will be probably the fastest in most of the games that he'll play. So, his speed is definitely an asset. It's crazy to see somebody come off the edge that quickly. It's not something that, 'He ran the 40 in whatever he did, and now he's here, and he's a lot slower.' The kid has some speed, but he has to put the whole thing together. And so, for me, I'm his No. 1 fan. I'm going to cheer him. He's my horse in the race, and I'm going to be on the bench, hopefully, watching him make a lot of great plays this year."
On building chemistry with the offensive line: "I've only been with one offensive line, so my experience is very limited. I've only experienced the one iteration. But I think that the culture, the room, how everybody has come together, the expectations that we have for each other, all those things are being developed as we spend hours with Coach 'Joe D' [offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris]. So, from that standpoint, the offensive line has taken a huge leap over the last two weeks. We do feel that we know our assignments, that we know what is expected of us, and now it's time to finish the details to make sure that we're ready to go for the season."
DT Brandon Williams
On what he's seen from the young defensive linemen: "It's going well. I mean, we've got a lot of good guys this year – a lot of good guys with talent – and we can't wait until Saturday to see what they've got. In the beginning, you saw a lot of raw things, and then you put the pads on, and then you start getting a different perspective. Now we're putting them in game mode. So, it's the next step."
On how excited he is to see the young players in action during the preseason: "Oh yes, definitely. Seeing these guys flourish is definitely like … It's a great feeling to be a vet – seeing these guys come up – because obviously, they're the future of the Ravens; they're here to pass the torch to. So, you definitely want to see those guys come up and do good things in the game, because obviously, you want to see everybody do great on this team."
On what he's working on and hoping to gain from camp: "Well, the biggest thing is getting the [cohesion] and gelling this unit together – making sure I know all the new guys. And then secondly, just obviously, [for] myself, getting the plays back down. After having the long season off, helping everybody else get the plays down and just continue with cardio – physical and mental ability. Yes, just keep going."
On T Alejandro Villanueva: "Oh, the man is a 'dawg.' He looks good through camp. He's got fast hands; he moves well. He's still got it. So, I'm glad that we have him and glad to see what he can do, on our side."
On if he's aware of the Ravens' active [17-game] preseason winning streak: "No, we just take it one game at a time. (laughter) And if there's a 'W' at the end, that's all that matters."
On being told that the Ravens have won 17-consecutive preseason games: "Wow, that's a long time. That's a long time.
On if he's surprised by their 17-game preseason winning streak: "No. Just from the standard here, you know what's expected, so you've just got to get it done."
On how C/G Bradley Bozeman has handled the transition to center: "Oh yes, I definitely feel like he's getting comfortable in his position. At Alabama, he played center. So, yes, it looks like he's more comfortable there. He's doing a lot of good things, so I'm excited to see what he can do – for sure."
On DT Justin Madubuike: "I like the fact that he just keeps taking the next step, the next milestone. I mean, last year, he was doing a good job, but this year, he's taking new steps, getting more consistent, becoming more of a vet himself – just trying to get him into his own little motion, little to-do list of how to be a pro."
On how important using hands are to generate a pass rush: "It's everything – the quickness to speed. You've got to be able to get maybe one, two, however many people off of you, so you've got to definitely be able to use the hands, the whole body. So, it's a grind – for sure."
On how good the trio of himself, DE Calais Campbell and DE Derek Wolfe could be: "As good as we want to be, really. Honestly, if we can stay healthy, the sky is the limit – for sure."
On advice he received when he was younger that he wants to pass on: "The biggest thing is taking care of your body, finding a routine, get comfortable being uncomfortable kind of thing. Just the day-to-day grind, just one day at a time, one practice at a time, one play at a time, that's what you really take away from it. From [my former teammates] Haloti [Ngata], Chris Canty, Marcus Spears and all [of] them, just what it takes to be a pro, and then really take care of your body and have longevity in this league."
On the return of fans: "It's going to be electric, man. We don't have to bring our own energy anymore, which gets tiring, and then trying to play a game. So, having that heartbeat back, it's going to be alive in there. It's going to be awesome."