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Ravens Thursday Transcripts

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement:"It's good to see everybody. I appreciate you guys being here for the first day of training camp. [There's] a lot of excitement, but a lot of attention to detail. We have a special guest here: General John Thompson – 'J.T.' – whose last assignment was in Qandahar. He was running the ship down there in southern Afghanistan doing a great job. I had the chance to spend time with him there. I met him several years ago in Iraq, and [he's] just become a great friend. He had a wise word for the team – just a tremendous message for the guys. That was a great way to finish up our first practice. I feel like we had a really good first practice. The lack of heat helped the guys, I guess, but they're in really good shape. It's not the toughest, most demanding practice we're going to have in training camp the first time, but it was a tough, demanding practice, and nobody had a problem. We were full speed from beginning to end, so I feel really good about where we're at. [I have] a couple announcements: In running the conditioning test this morning, we lost Aaron Ross to a torn Achilles, so that's a tough break for him. [He was] just changing direction on the fourth rep there [and] he tore it – a difficult thing. And then Dominique Franks has not passed his conditioning test yet, so he'll be [on the] PUP [Physically Unable to Perform list] until he does."

John, there's a report that RB Ray Rice has been suspended for two games. Anything you can comment on about that? (Jamison Hensley)"There's nothing to comment on that. We have some information on that, but the league has said that they're going to make an announcement at 12:30, so that's where we're at with it."

John, what are your thoughts on the depth at running back? (Aaron Wilson)"We have a lot of depth at running back. We'll just see how it plays out with the competition in there. I like our guys, and I'm looking forward to seeing how they do."

John, you guys aren't glowing on it all and you've been moved on for a while, but with [RB Ray Rice's suspension announcement] looming out there, does it help to put that behind you – this sort of move forward and not have to answer questions about it at least? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Well, I'm answering a question now about it. Is this the last question about it? Then I'm happy. (laughter) It's really not a big deal. It's just part of the process. We said from the beginning the circumstances would determine the consequences. There are consequences when you make a mistake like that. I stand behind Ray [Rice] – he's a heck of a guy. He's done everything right since [the incident]. He makes a mistake; he's going to have to pay a consequence. That's good for kids to understand that it works that way. That's how it works. That's how it should be. And we'll move forward, the next guy will have to step up, and then Ray will be back when the time comes. It's not something that we're dwelling on; it's just that we're not worrying about it. [We're] moving forward."

Did you have a chance to speak with RB Ray Rice about [the suspension] whatsoever, John? (Jerry Coleman)"I'll speak with him about it whenever I speak with him, whenever it comes up."

Nothing today, though? (Jerry Coleman)"I talked to him about it today on the field a little bit."

With CB Aaron Ross injured, will you look to add another cornerback? (Garrett Downing)"We'll have to see. We have pretty good depth [at cornerback]. We have a lot of guys – we just signed two guys – but yes, we'll always be looking for better players. Whenever I get asked that question, I give the same answer. I don't think we have any particular urgency. We have good players at corner. The guys are competing [and] we like our guys. I expect the third corner to be one of the guys already here. Fourth corner, fifth corner – those guys are going to earn their jobs. But if there's somebody out there that can come in and bolster the competition, then yes, we'll bring him in. That's where we're at."

Are there any obvious changes in RB Ray Rice, just trying to have guys rally behind him helping him out? (Morgan Adsit)"He's working hard. I think he's working very hard. He's been committed, really, from the beginning. He's really motivated by the season last year [with] the disappointment he had [of his performance]. He has himself in great shape and he's really determined to have a great year, so that's what I like. That's where we're at, and we'll see what kind of year he has."

Do you feel confident that RB Bernard Pierce can be the No. 1 running back for the time being? (David Steele)"I'm confident in all of our guys. I'm very confident in Bernard. I've always liked Bernard. He's a heck of a player. He's worked very hard, he's 217 pounds, [and] he's in the best shape of his life. He looked good out here the last couple of days; he looked really good today. We'll know more by Tuesday once we get the pads on and seeing him move with the pads on and how the shoulder holds up – that'll be important. But yes, I have a lot of confidence in all of our guys."

John, with this being the first full day for everybody out here, what were your emotions this morning when you woke up and walked out to the field to an entire group ready to open training camp? (Brett Hyman)"I forgot. I can't remember. (laughter) [If] you're a football coach, you love football. I can't wait to come out and enjoy practice. I can't wait to come out and be with the guys. This is the first time we get to practice for real, so to speak, [and] Saturday will be the pads. We don't have so many restrictions on it, so we can get more things done – that's nice. That's what a coach wants to do. You want to do football. If you're a football coach [or a] football player, you want to do football. It's what you do. You like to do football all the time. It's a great day that way."

Can you talk about the development of WR Torrey Smith and where he has come from a first-season guy to where he is now? (Jamison Hensley)"No, I don't. I really can't. I'm not in that mode right now of going back and tracking a guy's history. He's doing great. Torrey is doing great. In my opinion, he's a premier player in the National Football League. He's going to have a breakout season, and I'm excited. I'll tell you what: I'm going to think that about all our guys. I'm excited about every single guy we have – Torrey Smith, as much as anybody, obviously, because he works his rear end off. He has a great attitude. You have to pull the guy back. You have to grab him and say, 'Hey, man. Take a blow!' You have to do that, because he's like a horse – he'll run himself until his heart explodes. He'll do it. He's just a great, great young man. I love him, but I feel that way about all of our guys."

How are the wide receivers fitting into this offseason and clicking with QB Joe Flacco? (David Steele)"We'll find out. The idea is for them to be a championship-winning receiving corps, and what that means we'll find out. I'm excited about them. We have four guys who we feel really strong about. We have to get those guys ready, and then there's some really steep competition for the next spot, too. We have some really good candidates in there – some good, young players – so that'll be fun as well."

John, you were just talking about the kids being out here. How great is it to have them out here as part of the atmosphere? (Bill West)"It's great. That scene right there really makes it worthwhile. It's disappointing that we can't have 10,000 fans or 15,000 fans here like we used to, but at least we get a chance to do this with some very special kids. That's what matters. And then the other thing is that we're going to be at M&T Bank [Stadium twice]. That's an important thing to Steve Bisciotti. M&T Bank and Navy – we're going to get kids out there, especially kids that don't always get the chance to come to games. That's going to be really great, too."

NT Haloti Ngata

On his excitement for the opening of training camp: "I'm way excited, especially for a lot of these young guys, seeing a lot of these young guys coming to work, and they look good. So, it's just a really exciting time. [I'm] really excited for our defense, how fast we're looking. We have a lot of upside to our defense, so that's great."* *

On sensing the speed of the defense: "When I turn around and see these guys friggin' sprinting to the ball, it's just amazing. It's just like I said – especially to see these rookies and younger guys just going full-go – it's just fun to watch, and you just get excited about it."* *

On how he feels since the offseason: "I feel great. This is the best I've felt in the offseason. My knees feel great, shoulders – it's just the best I've felt in the offseason, and I've been able to train a full offseason, so it's great. This is the best I've felt in the offseason, because previous years I've had some type of injury or lingering injuries, so it's just the best I've felt in the offseason."* *

On whether he did anything differently this offseason: "No, just that I've been able to train longer, so that's the thing. I trained faster [and am] just ready to get to playoffs. I started training like that at the end of January, February. That's longer training, so that's great."* *

On whether he feels settled in at nose guard: "They're moving me around. I'm at nose, you have Brandon Williams playing a lot of the nose, and I'm playing three nose, and whatever [else]. I'm more comfortable with it now than I was last year. It's great."* *

On the younger members of the defensive line: "It definitely is different. You've got younger guys like T.J. [Timmy Jernigan who] is doing great, and he's doing a lot of good things – explosive. And a lot of our younger guys … Brent [Urban], it's just picking those guys up and bringing them along. It's just going to take some time, but once you get some time together, they're going to get better and better."* *

On the video of him lifting a 150-pound dumbbell during the offseason: "It's just third rep, just kind of going, but I've been doing that. Started this offseason doing those, and it's called 'checkers-get-ups,' but it's the heaviest dumbbell they've got."* *

On RB Ray Rice and his pending suspension: "Ray Rice is a great guy. I've known him for six, seven years now, and I know he knows that he made a mistake and he's going to work through it. And all I can do is support him and be his teammate."* *

On if he's seen changes in RB Ray Rice: "No, he's a great guy – always has been a great guy. [He] jokes around, has fun with everybody, so he's just the same guy."* *

On whether it will help to have RB Ray Rice's suspension behind the team: "Oh definitely, once they announce it'll be good just to know what his suspension will be, and we can just move forward."

WR Torrey Smith

On his comfort level in everything he's doing now that he's been in the NFL for a while:"I definitely know what to expect. That's the biggest difference. Time is flying heading into my fourth year, and you know what to expect, you know what the expectations are here, and you know what you have to do to meet them. The first day is always the first day for me, personally. You have to get used to seeing someone across from you, get used to Jimmy [Smith] and 'Webby' [Lardarius Webb] holding you down the field. (laughter) But we're all out here making each other better, and we work as hard as anyone in the league in camp. It was a great first day, we had the sun on our side, and we're looking forward to the next one."

On the improvement he's made in his route-running skills:"I feel like I've improved in every area, and I still [give it my all] in camp. You can't feel like you can stay the same. It's not like you have to reinvent yourself, but you have to do something to prove that you belong, and that's how I feel each and every year. [I] just try to prove that I belong in this league and that I can play. With that said, I know I have to work on everything."

On if it's difficult to not think about being in a contract year when he's on the field:"No, I don't think about the contract at all. Every year's important; I want to win. That stuff kind of takes care of itself. I'm not going to be out there on the field while I'm running a route like, 'Man, Ozzie [Newsome] saw that!' (laughter) I'm here to win. I'm a Raven – always going to be a Raven. That's all I worry about."

On if he's optimistic a contract will be worked out based on some of the statements the organization has made:"Yes, I'm sure, at some time – today or next year, or whenever. I'm not going to give you all any hints as to what's going on. The business side, I try to stay away from, because you can't worry about things that you can't control. That's how I've been. And I've watched guys that let things like that affect them, and to me, I just go out there, have fun and get better to help us win. I just go play ball. That's stuff I can't control. What other people think, I really can't control it, so I just have to prove that I belong each and every day."

On his reaction to the league's suspension of RB Ray Rice:"I think it's probably the final piece to it all. Obviously, he had his trial and everything, and now it's up to the league to do what they do. I have no clue in terms of … You said two games? That's news to me. You knew something was going to happen – rightfully so. There's a lot of responsibility being in this position, and Ray understands that better than anyone else. It's one thing. It's one thing, and it's definitely tough. People are going to try to view him differently, but I know how Ray is as a person and I know how Janay is, and they're working to improve on everything. I'll be glad when those two games are up, not only so we can have him back, which is the least of my worries, but to kind of close the final chapter [of this situation] for him."

On what kind of one-two combo he and WR Steve Smith, Sr. can have:"I think that we can be as good as anyone out there, and that's our receiving corps in general. We just have to work and go out there and do it. It's one thing to say it. We have a great veteran leader in Steve, and we all just have to go out there and work. He brings something completely different than anyone else, and we can all learn from him as well as we can learn from [rookie free agents] Jace [Davis] or [Jeremy] Butler. We're all just out there just working trying to be the best unit we can be."

On the "different" element WR Steve Smith, Sr. brings to the Ravens:"He's a firecracker, man. He plays with attitude in a positive way. He plays with attitude and he knows how to channel it the right way, too. I've known Steve for a while, but to play with him, I love it, because he's completely different. He's like a whole other animal. It's football. He's not out there trying to make friends. He's out there trying to win."

On if WR Steve Smith, Sr. brings out the fierceness in him: "I mean, I'm always myself – I play ball. You may not here me talk all the time. I'm going to play ball. I tell you I want to beat you on every route, I want to win every single time. But you just might not say it, but you know it. I don't have to speak on it."

On how WR Steve Smith, Sr. called them Smith & Smith Associates: "I saw that on twitter, man. Steve is crazy, man."

On how where he ranks the Ravens' receiver corps in the league: "In terms of rankings, no disrespect to what you all think, or anyone thinks, [but] I don't worry about it. I know that just from being here – I've been here the past few years – we won the Super Bowl with, according to you all [in the media], 'a bunch of No. 2 receivers who can't get open, can't get off press.' [The media] said the same thing about Seattle, so that proves my point."

On picking up the new offensive plays: "It's just fine-tuning things. We had a great offseason, and I think that was a credit to how everyone worked and the coaching staff as well. They work as hard as anyone you've been around. We're all committed to trying to change, trying to get better, and trying to be the best team that we can be, and everyone's all in."

On how the new offensive system impacts the wide receivers: "I say the same thing – just run routes. It's not like [the receiver] is out there running any routes that we haven't run before. Conceptually, a lot of the stuff is the same. It's just a different way of reading it, and it's kind of a little tweak on certain routes. But for the most part, football is football, and you can't really reinvent the wheel with that one."

On how he feels about offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak: "I love him. He's great. I think that he's the perfect guy for what we need, and the way he is out there, he's a great leader for us and it's easy to buy into what he's preaching. He's a great communicator as well, and he's a guy you want to play for."

On how long it will take the offense to execute the new system at a high level: "I think that right now we're not really thinking as much – just fine-tuning the little things, making sure you're lined up here versus two yards over. [We're] just fine-tuning things, and that's what camp is for. We've covered so much ground in the offseason, and we came out here today … It's just little things like, 'Oh man, I forgot about that, I forgot about that.' You want to get these next few days out of the way, get your camp legs under you and be ready to go. But I think that for a first day, it wasn't bad at all."

On former Ravens WR Donte Stallworth helping coach the wide receivers: "Donte is my guy. When I was training for the Combine, he was kind of like my receivers coach down there, so I've known him for a few years. Again, he's a great role model, a great person to be around, and having him out here – it's a lot different. I was looking forward to playing with him when I came in, but having him out here, just another coach in your ear … It's a luxury being able to play with Bobby [Engram], and then you have an extension of him with Donte, another receiver, and he's only going to help us and make us all better."

On whether it matters to have a No. 1 receiver on the team: "I think that we have a bunch of great receivers that can play. I'll never really get into the labeling thing, because what does it mean? Like I said, [the media] said we didn't have a 'No. 1 receiver' when we won the Super Bowl, or Seattle, so what does it really mean?"

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