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Ravens Thursday Transcripts: Week 2 vs. Miami Dolphins (9/15)


Opening statement:"Good to see everyone. Just a quick recap of the [Jets] game; I thought our guys came out, we played solid, [and] we were sound. It was a good day. We played with a lot of young guys, and those young guys, they're going to continue to grow and continue to get better. I thought Jordan [Stout] came out, [and] he punted the ball well. He did exactly what we expected, exactly what we practiced and exactly what we talked about. I knew he'd go out there, and he'd perform well."

Moving forward to this week, it's another good challenge for us. Miami has a good special teams unit, and for us, it's all about us. We're just looking to come out and try to put together and stack another good game, another solid game with our guys. Questions?"

As a coach, what has impressed you about how willing K Justin Tucker is to tinker with his technique? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"I think it's easy for a guy at any position, a guy that wants to be the best at his position, he's going to do the things that are necessary in order to make himself the best player he can possibly be. When you watch him work – and again I've said this before – he is about as hard on himself as anybody. When you demand those kinds of things from yourself, it's really easy for you to go out and really put together some great kicks."

When you watch other NFL games, do you find yourself saying, 'Thank God we have Justin Tucker.'? _(Ryan Mink) _"When I watch other games, I just sit on the outside, and I just try to figure out the scheme, all those good things, but obviously in that situation, that's one of the things you don't really have to worry about because he has handled that job, and he's done a very good job with it."

How has CB Jalyn Armour-Davis come along as a special teams player? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"He's coming along pretty good. Earlier in training camp, he missed some of the time, so it was just good to get him out there and let him get a feel for our phase of the game. I think as we move forward, and we continue to go along, and we continue to stack these weeks, he's going to continue to play very well for us."

Was P Jordan Stout disappointed with kicking a touchback against the Jets even though he hit the ball really well? _(Childs Walker) _"He's always disappointed, anytime there's a touchback. In those situations, I think he's going to be disappointed. He probably wishes he got a little bit bigger piece of that ball, but it went in the end zone. For a young guy to come out and really just perform the way he did, I thought it was outstanding."

Did you consider the Jets shanked punt a win for your unit because of the way you psychologically affected the punter? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"Of course. When you look across the league, that's really what's trying to happen. How can we have an effect on the game. When you align in certain situations, and you do certain things, you force the opponent to kind of maybe do things that they don't necessary maybe practice as much, but I thought it was good for our guys. That ended up being a 20-yard punt, so that's huge on field position, and then our offense took the ball right down there, and we scored. So, that is definitely a win for our guys, and we want to make sure we continue to do those things."


Obviously, the Dolphins have a ton of speed at wide receiver. How do you prepare for that? _(Ryan Mink) _"Try not to let them get behind you. They have great players on the perimeter, it's not just '10' [Tyreek Hill] and '17' [Jaylen Waddle], but it's all over the field. I think when you face a team like this, you have to really make sure you're on your fundamentals; running out of the stacks, pursuit angles are good, communication in the backend, pre-snap and post-snap. So, it's been a big emphasis for us this week." 

It seems like every year we begin the year by talking about the depth in the secondary, but it can quickly change. How do you handle missing some key guys in the secondary right now? _(Pete Gilbert) _"You're always planning on … You go into a gameplan, and you're looking at matchups, and you're trying to put the guys in the best spots. If things change ... the thing with our team is that we're flexible enough back there where no matter what happens, we feel like we're going to end up in a good spot, and guys can play different positions. Definitely when you're making a gameplan, you can't put all your eggs in one basket, and that goes for all the positions. That's a weekly conversation we have, if so-and-so goes down, if this guy goes down." 

How pleased were you with DT Justin Madubuike's performance against the Jets? _(Luke Jones) _"Yes, just going off what I've seen from Justin [Madubuike] since the year we drafted him, 2020, and then the offseason that he put in, the work he's done, and all the things he's been doing on the field over there. It's just more of the same, so it wasn't much of a surprise to me, but obviously I'm happy for him, to see him go out there and be productive like he expects to be." 

How did you evaluate S Kyle Hamilton in Week 1? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"Kyle [Hamilton] had a good game. I don't know about his production stats per se – I don't think I could tell you anybody's stats from the game; it's just not something that I'm concerned really with. [It's] about being assignment sound. He missed the one tackle on the third-and-10 on the guy on the sideline, but he could take a better angle there and work with, I think it was Brandon [Stephens] that was on the sideline with him, that's something we focus on. The thing that you don't notice with Kyle is he scratched and clawed, and he got his fingertip on the guy, and we had Calais [Campbell] and Odafe [Oweh] running like a scolded dog out of the stack, and we got the guy down before, and we forced them to punt. So, to me it was a good play." 

How has DT Travis Jones been coming along the last few days of practice? _(Rocco DiSangro) _"He looks good, he looks good. He's ready to roll. So, whenever he is out there, he'll be rolling." 

NT Michael Pierce also played well against the Jets. From what you saw, is he moving as well as he ever has? (Cliff Brown) _"Yes. It's been a minute since he was here last, so it's hard to have anything to compare that to, but just for the reasons that we signed him; he's a heck of an interior run stopper, and like we've been saying all along, I think he's a … He's a great dropper. _(laughter)He's an underrated pass rusher, too." 

With the Dolphins speed on the outside, how much of an emphasis is it to tackling guys down quick? _(Jamison Hensley) _"Yes, it's a great point. It's with anyone you play in the league, everyone is so talented, and everyone is so good. You just have to be on your Ps and Qs at all times, but these guys specifically, it's all angles, it's not just the backend. It's running out of the stack, it's how I'm playing CB on the backside of the wide zone, the boot. So, it's all three levels. It's something we work [at] every day. It's hard to practice tackling all the time, but if you practice the right way, and you're in the right spot, and you're in the right leverage, then we feel comfortable that we're in the spot to make the play. It's definitely a point of emphasis with this team. The timing of their offense is what makes it go. If the ball is out on time, and a guy has a catch and run, you have issues. That's something that we're going to try to throw a wrench in the works for them." 

The Dolphins are a heavy RPO and play action team. How much does practicing against this Ravens offense every day help you in that regard? _(Ryan Mink) _"Yes, we see everything from our offense, so the great part of that is when you turn on the tape of a new team, you're not saying, 'Hey, this is an offense from Mars that we haven't seen any of these plays or motions before.' So, a lot of the things we've seen from these guys, but they're from a little bit different … They're more in the Jets' family of offenses, but there's definitely consistencies throughout." 

S Chuck Clark was happy about how the defense communicated on the backend last week. I know there were some breakdowns in communication when you went to Miami last year. How do you like how the communication has progressed and how important is it for a game like Sunday which will be very loud? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"The thing that I'm most pleased with is the sense of urgency from our guys about communication. Not that it wasn't there, but it really feels like the most buy in we've felt in the sense of urgency to make calls since we got here over the last couple weeks. That's something that we're definitely harping on; it's a point of emphasis. You always hear the saying, 'A loud defense is a good defense,' and that's what we're trying to be." 

It looked like Miami had some success last week throwing to their running backs out of the backfield. We've seen ILB Patrick Queen's growth there, but how much of a test will this be for him versus Miami RB Chase Edmonds?"All the running backs that they can throw out there are great players. Obviously, they're great coming out of the backfield, and really, the Jets were the same way. So, they definitely provide a challenge, not just for Patrick [Queen], but for anyone covering them out of the backfield, so it's something that we definitely have to be aware of at all times. That's a little bit more unique of a challenge that these guys present over just a normal NFL offense, given certain sorts of situations where you wouldn't expect a guy to be getting out."


Opening Statement:"Hello everybody. I hope everybody is doing well. You dressed very nicely today, I see. [You] had a meeting this morning, probably. We've got a big game coming up, really good team coming in. [For] us on offense, when you look at their defense, over the last 12 games or whatnot, these guys have been incredibly productive. They're really good at all three levels of the defense. Their scheme is outstanding and diverse, and they really try to test you in a lot of different ways. They can play really basic, fundamental football; they can drop eight in coverage; they can blitz everybody. So, they've got it all schematically. They're well coached, they communicate well. They've got some really, really active safeties, their linebackers [are] excellent, and the D-Line is playing at a really high level. So, we're excited about the challenge – working through our process this week. And any questions?"

When you re-visit game film from a game like the Dolphins last year – where you know it didn't go the way you wanted it to – what is that experience like, and then how do you convert that to a positive going forward? _(Childs Walker) _"In this league, every game, you want to look at it and learn from it – the good, the bad, the ugly. And that was certainly one where there was a lot of different things that we could have done better – a lot of different things – coaching, playing, whatever. But it's really something you've got to look at kind of with a cool, cold-blooded mentality. It's got to be really cold-blooded; you can't get emotional about it. You've got to really look at it strategically and fundamentally and then figure out how you can fix certain things or explain certain things better – how to practice things a little bit better, et cetera. So, it's really a process. Every week, every team goes through it, really win or lose."

What did you like about your offense in Week 1? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"[With] the under-center game, we can do a lot of stuff under center. We did some of it this week, and they'll be more of it to come. We've got to stay on top of what we're doing under center, which we will – maybe set the hook on a few things. But I thought the guys … First of all, it was an honor to play [and] be there on 9/11 and see that – that was outstanding. But I thought our guys did a great job of really dialing in on the approach we wanted to take in that game – in the rain, with some young guys playing, on the road, to start. So, I thought there was a lot of good things there, but a lot of things we feel like we can do better [with], as well."

We know it was Week 1, and something goes wrong on any given play, potentially, but just in general, what did you make of the running game, just knowing how massive that is for your offense? _(Luke Jones) _"Yes, every game is a little bit different, and I would describe it as very choppy. We were rusty in some things; it was a guy here; one thing here, one thing there. So, it's obviously something we're attacking and trying to improve. We really didn't show a whole lot once that game opened up a little bit, and we built a different lead. We had some success throwing the ball down the field, based on the looks we were getting, so that was really positive. But as far as the running game goes, we want to be more efficient. We will be. We've got to work through it, work at it. But really, it wasn't like a massive problem; it was one thing that broke the play down. But we've got a lot of work to do, and I feel really good about the guys getting it done."

How satisfying is to focus on something like the downfield passing game during training camp and then have it immediately pay dividends in Week 1? _(Jamison Hensley) _"Yes, I thought that was great. I really feel like … I wasn't surprised by it, by any stretch. But it's just that's kind of where the direction [of] the game went, and the guys made plays. So, that was a real thing. I can sit here and say, 'You know what? You guys were complementing our run game too much, criticizing our receivers. So, you know what? I'm going to go that way, and I'm going to show them.' I don't think so. But it's just how it goes; every game is going to be a little bit different. I thought the guys stepped up. And we're looking to play a lot more efficiently every single week. We've got to keep pushing the envelope, keep trying to improve, get better, communicate better, understand each other better and how we're going to do certain combination blocks, et cetera. But yes, I thought those guys stepped up in a big way. It was a strange game – a lot of big plays that added up to points. That's why, for us, the most important thing is winning the game – points, turnovers and then fill in the rest."

There's been a lot of talk about the play clock and getting to the line late. What can you do, from your perspective, to kind of quicken that pace up? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"Yes, we can do a lot of different things. You can shorten play calls; you can simplify certain things; you can do one-word things. And then sometimes, it's good to drain the clock. People don't realize that, sometimes, but it's really good at times. You can really drain a clock in the course of a game. I think we set the all-time NFL record for time of possession a couple years ago, and a lot of it was because of that process, really. And there are times when that's not the way to go. So, the bottom line is we want to be efficient with how we operate, and we'd like to be at the line of scrimmage, most of the time, to where we can operate, [and] we're in front of the clock."

Was there a specific intent going into to it to target the wide receivers in the passing game as early and as often as you did? (Pete Gilbert) _"Yes, I think it just played out that way – it certainly did. There are definitely some plays early in the game [where] it's like, 'Hey, we're going to start the game doing this,' and I think we threw [Rashod] Bateman a pass early. But really, there is not a lot of … There wasn't in that game, at least; some games there is, but not in that game. That game was a game, for us, that we kind of wanted to get into and just see what they're doing, not do anything crazy early and then get rolling." _(Reporter: "Was that because of preseason too – lack of snaps.")"Probably a little bit, probably a little bit. But it worked out. So, on to the next one."

What's your approach game-to-game or even year-to-year on how you want to manage designed runs for QB Lamar Jackson? _(Jeremy Fowler) _"That's interesting. I study a lot of people every year – offseason, in-season. Sometimes if they do something that isn't necessarily going to work at this level or whatnot, but it inspires a thought, then maybe we can … And then you just try to evolve, do things you're good at, factor in the personnel. Every year, the personnel is completely different. So, a couple years ago, about 10 games into the season, [we] completely changed the running game – just didn't like how it was going – and that happens sometimes, too."

With RB J.K. Dobbins being a full participant in Wednesday's practice and practicing again today, is he where you guys want him to be in the recovery process? _(Rocco DiSangro) _"Yes, [J.K. Dobbins] is working through his process every day. I feel like he's getting better every day. I'm not exactly sure when he's going to be out there. We love the progress he's making, though, and he's going to be out here pretty soon. I can't put a date on it right now, though."

Looking at that Miami-New England game from Week 1, it looked like there was a lot of cat and mouse pre-snap stuff. Is this the kind of game where QB Lamar Jackson's pre-snap recognition is going to be important? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"I think these guys [Miami] do a great job. They play cover zero, but they also play a lot of other things; they want to show you 'zero,' and they don't [play it]. They do a nice job with it. So, yes, there's definitely some layers to this. But it's going to come down to preparation, communication and execution. So, if we're good in those areas, I like our chances."

QB Lamar Jackson spoke yesterday about the opportunity to punish a defense like this by hitting big plays early. Are big plays at a premium against a defense like this that crowds the line of scrimmage? _(Childs Walker) _"Any time you can do that, it's definitely really, as an offensive coach, it's very appropriate. Because, if they're going to basically roll the dice on having everyone up [in the box] and whatnot, you have to be able to hit them. I think that's definitely something you look forward to. They can also be a very patient defense as well; they have that in their bag, too. So, when they're all up there, you want to make them pay; when they're all way back there, you'd like to be efficient."

In Week 1, did you see a very similar Miami defense to last year? _(Ryan Mink) _"I think it looked pretty much exactly the same. They had a few tweaks and whatnot, but very similar. They do a very good job. [They are] well coached, communicate great, and they have good players at all three levels. They did a heck of a job against New England; that strip sack for a touchdown [was] a huge play in the game. It really tilted the game, but they're playing well. They've been playing well for a while, so we're excited about it."

When you look at the film from last year against Miami, it's safe to say that the blitz gave you problems, but were there any extra factors? _(Cordell Woodland) _"Blitz was a big contributing factor, but I can just tell you that wasn't the only factor in that game. That was the obvious one to grab on to, but I think it was a Thursday night game on the road, and we just have to do better. Honestly, when you look at last year's game, it was a lot of things. It was first down, second down. That contributed as well; I think we had like third-and-9 or more. Not the winning formula, right? So, which came first, the chicken or the egg?"

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