Ravens Thursday Transcripts

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement:"Thanks for coming out. [It's] good to see everybody. We had a great day for [football], and it was a good practice. It wasn't as physical, but it was a lot of work. We did a lot of reps – different things we need to work on – and [we were] obviously getting ready for Dallas, to some extent. But it's the last big group of fans we have here for training camp. We have the big group of fans here, and it's been great that way. Our players have been excellent. The whole team is over there lining up signing autographs for kids. That's a great thing. And we've had the big events at the stadium – M&T Bank [Stadium] and Navy have been great, too – so it's been a good camp that way for us. There's really not much to report, injury-wise. I know [there are] some questions about Owen Daniels. We decided to rest his legs a little bit. He had been going pretty hard, so [we wanted] to [rest him] a little bit. Whether [or not] he'll play in the game, we'll just decide and see how he feels. But there's no injury involved there."

With camp, the fans are one thing, but does the schedule change at all? Does the routine change at all? (Garrett Downing) "The routine changes a little bit. The most challenging part of it is done. The schedule changes up in terms of the number of meetings and how long we practice and extra walk-throughs and things like that. It's a little different."

From the beginning of training camp until now, can you see that progress that's been made? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, you can. That's the beauty of training camp – you have an opportunity to really see [the] progress. You're in a crucible, and every single day it's all you do. It's wall-to-wall football. It's morning to night. You go to sleep and you wake up, and you're back at football. There's no escape. There's nowhere to hide, [and] there's nowhere to run. It's all football all the time, so you make progress rapidly, but you have to because you have a long way to go. We just have so much work to do still between now and then, and that's what we have to focus on."

John, what kind of progress have you seen from the offensive line and offensive line coach Juan Castillo's impact on them? (Aaron Wilson) "The offensive line has played well. If you evaluate what they've done so far against a really good front – both the front that they play against every day, which is our front, which is pretty darn good, and then one of the best fronts in football [San Francisco 49ers] that was in here for a  game and practiced against – they've acquitted themselves very well. I really like where they're at right now.  I look forward to seeing how they do Saturday night [at Dallas], and going forward. Our coaches have done a great job with them and I'm excited about where they're going. Just like everybody else, we have to keep getting better."

With the competition at wide receivers, are you starting to see some guys separate themselves from the rest of the pack? (Aaron Wilson) "We'll see. Nobody has really separated themselves because nobody has fallen off right now – they've all played well … (Looks up to airplane flying above.) I think we have Army maneuvers going on over us today … (laughter) But they've all done well. The games are going to be a big thing now. If practice doesn't separate guys, then maybe the games will."

Have you decided for Saturday night's game against Dallas … Last Thursday against the 49ers it was one drive for the first team … Have you made a decision on how much we'll see? (Michele Gordon) "We have. Normally in the second preseason game you get a quarter, maybe a little more than a quarter. Some of that will be individualized for different players; we'll have some play counts for a few guys, including Joe [Flacco], and some of the defensive players. We'll see how it goes, but basically, about a quarter is what you're looking at – maybe more. It could get close to a half; it could even be a half for some of the starters."

G/T Rick Wagner, maybe?* (Glenn Younes)* "Yes, Rick Wagner could go a little more. The younger guys, absolutely … The younger guys could go as much as a full first half."

Last week, QB Keith Wenning came in right at the very end. Are there any plays for him to play more, or is this focused more on QB Tyrod Taylor's exposure? (Jamison Hensley) "That's going to be [dependent on] the way the game goes, how many plays we get on offense. Tyrod needs work – not that Keith doesn't, also – but Tyrod has had lots of practice time here, but he hasn't had much game time. I'm looking forward … I think Tyrod is a really good quarterback, and the chance to play that out in a game is really what makes the difference. He needs that. Keith will get whatever work is available."

Is there anything in particular that you want to see from the team against Dallas? (Michele Gordon)"There's a lot that we want to see. It's hard to pinpoint one thing or two things, but I'd like to see them play our style of football. We want them to be physical; we want them to play hard; we want us to tackle well; we want us to get a hat on the head in the run game and block the right people; carry the ball north in a physical fashion; protect the football. The fundamental things – throw, catch, those kinds of things – that's what you look for more than anything. We want to be sharp in the basics. I've heard 'Buck' [Showalter, Orioles Manager] say – and I love the way he says this – he says, 'The important thing is to be brilliant at the basics.' If we can do that now, then we have a chance to be pretty good."

Is the second preseason game a good evaluation as you guys start to make cuts? (Adam Vorce) "The second preseason game is a good evaluation; the third preseason game less so, because you're going to play the starters more and more. This is the last big opportunity for some guys to really show what they can do, although we're not disappointed with anybody. We'll have some very difficult choices to make."

Offensive Line Coach Juan Castillo

How do you feel like the offensive line is doing so far? (Aaron Wilson) "They've been working really hard, and we've been running the ball a lot in practices. And I think the combinations, when you do it like that over and over and over, that guys get a good feel for it, and the backs get a good feel for where the cuts are."

How would you compare the way things are this year to where things were a year ago? (Aaron Wilson) "I think the important thing, as any coach, I think is [that] the players know you and really trust you. And I think that happens through time. I think the guys, now, they're getting to know me a little bit, and hopefully they trust me."

Was that tough last year because they were used to Andy [Moeller]? (Aaron Wilson) "Well, I'd rather not talk about last year. This is this year."

With Ryan Jensen, he's somebody that is in his second year, but what have you seen from him? He is somebody that moved around, inside and outside, but how does he look on the inside?* (Garrett Downing) *"He's playing with good effort. He is getting better every day. He has a good attitude, and I think this will be a big game for him – this [game] and the next couple of games, preseason, to see where he is at."

**How encouraged were you by the preseason game running the ball the way you guys did? *(Clifton Brown) *"Well, not just the numbers, but I think when we looked at tape, the combination blocks. The guys coming off the football, that's what we're trying to get, everybody to come off the football and play physical. And I think that's what you saw. You saw everybody, every group, come off the football and every group be physical, and they had some fun."

How do you build off [the first preseason game]? (Garrett Downing) "Well, really, every day you're trying to get better. The guys understand, as offensive linemen … We talk about consistency, trying to be good seven out of 10, eight out of 10, nine out of 10. If you're perfectly … If your fundamentals [are] nine out of 10, you're going to be a pretty good football player. So really, that's what we're trying to do. The other night we did some good things, but we also had some things that we can improve, and that's what we've been working on all this week. We'll see Saturday."

Juan, how would you describe your philosophy? (Aaron Wilson) "You know what? We want to be physical. We want to come off the football, and if you do that, now all of a sudden … It's tough as a defensive player. It is tough when somebody comes off, hits you in the mouth, and then you have to come off and make the tackle. And as an offensive lineman, what you want to do is, when you feel that pressure taking off, you want to go ahead and finish. So, for an offensive lineman, we love running the football."

Juan, how good of a fit has C Jeremy Zuttah been as far as being a veteran presence, making calls at the line now that you've seen him through most of training camp? (Luke Jones) "The thing about Jeremy, he is a professional in every way. He is smart and he studies the game. For him, too, it's a different technique, I think, and he's been working very hard at the fundamentals and trying to do the things the way we do it here at Baltimore."

Pass protection, do you feel like that's coming along as far as giving QB Joe [Flacco] more time? (Aaron Wilson) "Yes. I think, too, part of the whole concept with running the ball and the run action [and] throws … I think it has been a fun camp."

**Juan, how do you evaluate where T Rick Wagner is at this point? *(Ryan Mink) *"The thing about Rick [Wagner] is that he is going against four really good linebackers, I think, probably you can say four starters. And I think the way you evaluate him is that not much is said about him. Sometimes that's a good thing when [the media is] not saying, 'Oh, well he did this,' or 'He did [that].' You don't say much, because he's doing his job, and that's important to him. I think the first thing is to get him to be solid, and then to work to be good, and then work to be a Pro Bowl-type player."

Juan, you talked about turning the page [from] last year, but is there a sense with your unit that, "We have to do better this year"? (Childs Walker) "Well, I think it's not about last year; it's about this year. We want to be … We want to get back to where they were before. We're going to take it one game at a time, but we want to have some fun. You can have fun by winning games."

Juan, is Gary [Kubiak's] system, is it very familiar to what you did before? (Aaron Wilson) "I think the biggest thing is that after studying the tape and everything, the biggest thing is they do it over and over and over. And I think that anything that we do … I think there was a guy that wrote a book about it – if you do something so many times, then it becomes natural. But I think that's what happens with the scheme, you run the wide zone, and you run it from different formations, different ways, but you're still doing the same concept over and over and over, and then your linemen get a good feel for it, and also your backs get a good feel for the reads. And not everybody is committed like that to a certain scheme."

**Juan, when a group gets so much criticism as the [offensive] line did, is it hard to not take it personally? *(Jamison Hensley) *"Well, I think if you're a competitor, I think you do. You obviously want to be better. But I think the important thing is that all of them are competitors; they all want to be better. We have some different guys here, too. So, I think last year is last year. This is a new year. [It is a] great opportunity for us."

How confident are you in running the ball this year? (Garrett Downing) "Of course [I am] very confident. That's what our offense is going to be. So, we're confident that we can run the football. We're going to come off the football, we're going to finish, and we're going to be physical."

Juan, that first run when the linemen fanned out and ran those 6 yards for RB Ray [Rice] is that the way [the blocking] is supposed to look? (Aaron Wilson) "It could look better; we could get more. The nice thing about the other night is the yards were important, but the combinations, the pad level, the way we finished, how we were physical, and really, we were trying to punish people. I think that's what we took more out of that, not so much the yards, but how the combinations look, and how the backs were able to make the cuts."

Inside Linebackers Coach Don Martindale

What are your thoughts on the inside linebackers during training camp this far? It seems like they're a really competitive group. (Aaron Wilson) "It is. It is. It's a really deep and competitive group. We have challenges and battles going on every day at different spots with different players. It's been a lot of fun this training camp."

What does ILB Daryl Smith bring with his veteran leadership to that group? (Garrett Downing) "Well, 'Buck,' he brings a lot of things, so that could really be a long answer. But what he brings is a Pro Bowl-type player – he didn't make [the] Pro Bowl [even though] he had the stats to be in [it] last year – into our room. When Ray [Lewis] left, he left his legacy there [at inside linebacker], and everybody in that room was trying to play up to that legacy. Daryl Smith is a really good football player, so they look at him, No. 1, as not only a good football player, but, No. 2, a great guy that he is. He's always trying to help the younger guys see things in a different way – see things in the way that we see them. He's just provided great leadership since he's been here."

Are these preseason games a little more important for someone like LB C.J. Mosley who is a rookie and who looks like he's going to play a lot, than for maybe a veteran guy who's seen all this stuff before? (Clifton Brown) "[Preseason games] are really important, and for all the reasons you just said. It helps C.J. get caught up to the speed of the game. [If] you look at San Francisco, the first couple plays … Now all of the sudden he's sunk in and played really well, which he's done all training camp, but it was just [at] a different speed. Just as it will be when we get into the regular season – it gets ramped up a little bit more. It's good for guys like C.J. – any rookie that comes in – but it's also good for our guys. It's good for Daryl Smith to see where he's at physically. It's good for all the competition that we have at 'Mike' linebacker between Josh Bynes and Albert McClellan, which has been a great battle as well. It's exciting for me because [in] the preseason, it's always about the bottom end of the roster. Who's going to be that difference-maker? Who's going to be that guy? And the quality of players that we have in our room – I've already told them this is what I believe [and] you can take it for what you see – I think everybody in our room, in the inside linebackers' room, will be on the 53-man roster. So, that talks about the quality of players at inside linebacker."

Don, I remember when the Ravens drafted LB C.J. Mosley how excited you were about that pick. Since he's been here, you've had the opportunity to coach him. What has stood out about him? What have you learned about him since you drafted him? (Ryan Mink) "[I've learned] what a good person he is. We knew the player that we were getting – we didn't know to the extent of how good he was going to be – but the best compliment I can give him is he's been here for [three-plus] months, and it seems like he's been here three years. He catches on to everything real fast; he's very instinctive. Both inside of our packages and outside of our packages, when plays break down, the decisions that he makes are really good decisions."

How have you allowed him to keep a level head? Because he's been getting so much praise – everybody's saying he's going to be a great player and what not – what do you say to him in terms of that? (Ryan Mink) "That goes back to your first question. He's just a humble kid. He knows there's going to be ups and downs, and he just takes everything level, and the guys in the room make sure he stays level with it. We've all been around guys that haven't been able to handle success. This kid has had plenty of success in his life and in his career already, so I think he's going to be fine."

Coach, last year the outside linebackers got to the quarterback at a pretty good clip and it sort of slowed at the end of the season. Do you know the reason for that, and what are you going doing now to stem that tide? (Glenn Younes) "Well, outside 'backers – that's really Ted [Monachino]. I think it'd be better off [if you asked] Ted. And there are a lot of things that play into that."

What have you seen from ILB Arthur Brown, comparing Year One to Year Two, as far as his grasp of the defense goes? (Samuel Njoku) "'A.B.' has come miles. He has come miles from last year. The game is slowing down for him. That's the biggest compliment that I can give him, and that's why it looks like he's playing faster. It's just one of those things when you have great competition in the room – without mentioning [general manager/executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] and [assistant general manager] Eric [DeCosta] and [director of college scouting] Joe Hortiz and those guys … With the players that we have in our room, it's just a battle that's going on right now. And right now, C.J. is ahead."

Do you think that battle is pushing all the other players to make that room better? (Samuel Njoku) "[There's] no doubt. It's going to make our whole team better. But especially in our room."

Coach, what does LB C.J. Mosley have to do to kind of take that next step to become that caliber of player you think he can be?* (Ryan Mink)* "I think it's just [a matter of] time. I really do. He's going to be a really good player. There are some people [that] said he's the best linebacker that's been in the last three drafts. I think it's time and the more opportunities that he gets, which just means more games. I really do."

ILB Daryl Smith

On how training camp has been for him: "I'm coming along pretty good. I'm looking forward to playing Saturday and getting out there with my teammates. But otherwise, I feel pretty good."

On if anything has surprised him about rookie LB C.J. Mosley: "I think he has caught on fast, and he has a high football IQ. We all knew he had the physical traits to come play, but the mental side of it, how fast he picks up things and takes it to the field [is impressive]."

On what he gets from a preseason game as a veteran: "Knocking some rust off, going out with your teammates, building chemistry, and playing whatever type of adjustments that maybe we put in [during] the spring and seeing how it plays out. And [we focus on] fine-tuning your techniques and get rolling – get ready for the season."

On the emphasis the defense is putting on finishing the fourth quarter strong: "I think the way they have structured practice, we have … We'll go for a period of time, and then we'll have a special teams [drills and] we'll go to more … Have another break, go … And the way they've structured it, it makes us push, especially, at the end when we have been out here [for] three hours, and we have 20 more minutes left, and then we have a two-minute [drill] or big team period at the end. In the meetings, we'll constantly talk about coming out and starting fast and also sustaining and finishing strong, too. So, we've had a chance to do that in practice, and hopefully it'll carry over into the season."

On what advice rookie LB C.J. Mosley has asked from him: "Just coming up asking … I think he listens well, soaks in everything that everybody has to say. We're in meetings, and coach [Don] Martindale will ask a question, and people will answer, and I think he takes everything in. So, I don't think it is one thing that he has asked. He has asked a few things. I couldn't remember to tell you anything specific. I think he sits back and takes it all in."

On how Mosley can become a great player: "We haven't even gotten [to] the regular season yet. Once we get to the regular season and start playing some games and doing some things, actually get some game film out there, then we can discuss that. But right now it is way early, and we still have a lot of work to do."

On what progress the linebackers have made as a group during training camp: "[I] feel pretty good about the way we're playing defense, we're running to the ball. All the traits it takes to be a Raven, and play defense here, we're working on that every day. Like I said, it's just a matter of keeping it rolling throughout the preseason and taking it to the regular season."

On what he thinks of DT Brandon Williams and his blocking: "As a linebacker, we love that. Our front has been … They really look good this preseason, and I'm looking forward to [getting] out there with them and [playing] with them."

On whether he feels more at home this season in Baltimore: "I definitely feel more comfortable in the defense and being able to have a year under my belt with the guys that were here last year. So, it definitely feels better – feels like home. You could say that."

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