*TRAINING CAMP: Day One Transcripts
Head Coach John Harbaugh, CB Marlon Humphrey, WR Jeremy Maclin, S Eric Weddle & RB Danny Woodhead
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"A couple of things on the list here: I thought it was an outstanding first day of training camp. The guys were good. I told the guys afterwards – because we haven't practiced this long in the OTAs and minicamp – I said, 'Hey, that got a little long out there. My back is tight, my hamstrings are tight, my legs are a little tired, my feet are sore. Don't worry about me. I'll be OK. I'll be ready tomorrow morning!' They showed no concern, whatsoever, of course. *(laughter) *But, I thought they did a good job, and they pressed through. It is a little muggy, and it is new for them, and they have to get their sea legs underneath themselves a little bit. They did a good job of it, and I'm proud of the way they practiced. Joe Flacco – we found out yesterday [about his back injury] – and I guess it has been something that has been bothering him for a week or two. He didn't say anything about it. It wasn't really that bad; it flared up a little bit. We went and saw a back specialist, so they are recommending about a week of rest, and they say that should take care of it. I guess with a back, you can always say, 'We'll see.' But, all indications from the back specialist and Dr. [John] Carbone are that he should be fine in about a week, and that is what we are hoping for and praying for.
"John Urschel called me this morning – it was actually at 6:22 a.m., because I remember when he called I looked right at my computer clock. He said that he is going to retire from football and that that was something that has been on his mind for quite a while throughout the offseason, and that is what he decided to do. We respect John tremendously, and probably the rest of it is for him to answer – whatever the details of that decision are.
"Other guys – Bobby Rainey – we signed Bobby. That was in the works for the last … Well, really, I've been talking to Bobby all summer. That has been in the works as a possibility. With Kenneth [Dixon] … We might have signed him anyway; I think we kind of wanted another back. We could even sign another back, numbers-wise. We might have signed him anyway, but with Kenneth's situation, that made it pretty clear cut that Bobby would be an answer for us there. Tight ends are all healthy – you saw that. Ben Watson is out there practicing; we have all those guys healthy. I am not ruling out another tight end to give us another set of legs, but those guys all looked good today. Jeremy Maclin passed the conditioning test. Woo woo! *(laughter) *It was the second time through, I will say, in all honesty. But he got it done this morning. He ran it yesterday and almost got it. Close doesn't count in conditioning tests. Horseshoes and cigars, but not conditioning tests. He came back this morning and blew it away and did a great job. Then, he went out and practiced. I think that says a lot about Jeremy Maclin. Danny Woodhead, Marlon Humphrey and [Eric] Weddle, you guys are talking to those guys. It says they are at the podium; I really do not care. But it is on my list, so I just kept reading!
"The last thing is Colin Kaepernick. I assume that will be a question that will be asked. Colin, I have known him, really, through my brother for many years. We have talked, and I got to know him really well when they scrimmaged here. He and I have been talking throughout the summer a number of times, and we have had some great conversations on the phone. It has really been a pleasure to talk to him and get to know him. I like history and politics, so we have had some debates. It has been fun. He is a great guy, and he is a guy right now that is being talked about, and we will see what happens with that. I think that will all be speculation right now, but I think he is a really good football player, and as I said at the owners meeting [this past spring], I do believe he will be playing in the National Football League this year."
So you would not rule out the possibility of adding QB Colin Kaepernick at some point? (Jamison Hensley)"No, I would not rule it out at all. He is a really good football player, and I believe he is a really good person. It all depends on a lot of things. It depends on Colin, first of all, and what he wants to do – what is his passion and what is his priority, what does he want to do and what kind of shape he is in and if he is ready to go. Then, [it depends on] our needs. We will kind of just see where it goes. But, I don't think that is different for us than any other team. We are definitely going to get another arm in here, but he is not an 'arm,' obviously. He is an accomplished football player, and we always like having good football players around."
Is S Tony Jefferson OK? We saw him out there, but it did not look like he was taking part. (Luke Jones)"Yes, Tony is OK. He tells me he is 100 percent. He had the sports hernia surgery four or five weeks ago. He is so mad at me right now, but I put him through individual [drills] and held him out the rest of it. I just want to make sure that he does not burst too quickly and have something reoccur. That is my decision to ease him back in there a little bit. I think some guys were talking about Jimmy [Smith]. Jimmy just cramped. Jimmy got through and had a good practice. He had a little cramp in his calf there towards the end. He looked good today."
From your standpoint, were you aware that G/C John Urschel had been thinking about retirement until today?* (Morgan Adsit)*"I had not [been made aware]. It was out of the blue. He had been working hard. He was here all summer. He was working on his snaps all summer. He was doing a great job, and it was definitely a lightning bolt that way."
Did G/C John Urschel offer any explanation as to why he's retiring? (Jamison Hensley)"He did, and I respected it. I am sure he will explain it in full. It is personal. I would call it a personal decision."
As far as QB Joe Flacco, has anyone made any kind of indication of possibly even [missing games in the] regular season or anything like that? (Jamison Hensley)"Nothing like that. We will be ready for everything. As a coach, I am running through … It's not just Joe, it is every single position. You want to build as much insurance into your roster as you possibly can at every spot. Quarterback, no less, but absolutely, everything looks fine for Joe. I am not a doctor, and I do not think anyone knows for sure what happened. Anyone can get hurt out here at any time. But, taking the precaution, I think Joe with a week of rest here is not going to hurt our offense. It might help our offense, in terms of developing some other guys. I would rather go that route than go the other route and push it."
Considering they missed the whole spring, how good was it to have G Marshal Yanda and LB C.J. Mosley out there – considering what they bring as players and as leaders? (Luke Jones)"It is great. Again, we were pretty conservative with Marshal, as you saw. We will continue to do that. I mean, gosh, he has had so many reps in there. C.J. really wants to go out and practice. He wants to get his legs underneath him and get moving. I thought he practiced great. Anytime your top players are out there, it makes you feel good."
Regarding the new use of the virtual reality technology, how are you looking to use that with your football players? What do you guys get out of that? (Shawn Stepner)"It is a great question. I think a lot of that is a little bit of hype right now. But, we look for every possible way we can to teach our guys. If they are doing something in a classroom somewhere to teach people things, we want to know what it is. We are studying it; we have had virtual reality cameras out here on the field. You have to put the camera in the middle and try to build repetitions for the guys that they can practice in the meeting room. It hasn't worked out; the technology is just not quite there yet. All we are doing right now is very simple stuff that would be considered meeting technology. But, we are chasing it, just like everybody else is in our league. We just want to teach our guys. The most important thing is … OK, here is an example: We go out today in the first day of training camp, and I think we had four repeats. That is probably a record for us. Four repeated plays, maybe it was five the whole practice. I think that speaks really highly to our coaches and to our players for studying and learning and to the technology that we are using. [It speaks highly] that guys can go out there after just a quick meeting last night – go out there and run a whole practice and only have five plays that you feel like you have to run again. We have to keep chasing that. Every day is going to be different, because we put more offense in and we pile it up every day. But yes, that technology is a teaching tool."
I know it's only the first day, but how did C Matt Skura look at center today?* (Todd Karpovich)"He looked good. I did not really zero in on him; I was watching the big picture. We will watch the tape, but I think he has done a really good job throughout. He looked good. I mentioned in our off the record session yesterday to keep an eye on Skura. That was your job to keep an eye on Skura today! How did he do? He look alright?" *(Reporter: "He looked pretty good.") "Yes, so, I agree with you. I think he is doing well."
Does C/G John Urschel's retirement make center a focus? You have two guys in there competing for a job now. Does that sort of intensify a need? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I don't think so. What is the level of intensity? We are always looking for the best players, always. We could not be any more intense for in search for good players. But, I don't think it changes the search for the position at all. You need two centers, and we were fortunate to have three guys in there that we thought were competing for the job. I would love to have John still in the mix, but without him in the mix, we have two guys we really like. But, we will be looking for players to fill out every position."
You took the rookies to Gettysburg. What was that trip like? What was the message? (Jordan Schatz)"Thank you for asking that – the Gettysburg trip. That is the second time we have done it with the rookies. These guys are all new. I do not know if there is any big message to convey other than it was team building a little bit. We spent some time together. The obvious message is that you are inescapable when you go up there. I have been up there a number of times. I will tell you, our tour guide, Jim, was just off-the-charts good at what he did. I did stump him on one question. 'Liberty Mountain' – how did 'Liberty Mountain' get its name? Does anybody here know? See, neither did Jim. (laughter) *I was like, 'Yes!'" *(Reporter: "What is it?") "No, I don't know either. (laughter) I didn't know! He said, 'Here is Liberty Mountain, and it was really important.' I'm thinking, 'Liberty Mountain? It probably had a real big deal. If you call it Liberty Mountain, something happened there, right?' We will find out. Maybe someone named Liberty? (laughter) *It was really fun, and our guys were into it. You always worry about 22-year-old guys and acting like kids, which they do a lot of times. But, they were taking pictures and doing videos – they were really into it. I felt good about that. It was amazing how many of our players – we talked about it the day before that – didn't know Gettysburg or the importance and the impact it has had on our country. Some of the guys did; some of the guys were really into it. Marlon Humphrey is back there [near the interview podium]; he is a student of the Civil War. He's been studying the Civil War. Is that right Marlon?" *(Humphrey: "Yep.") "Sure, sure. *Did you enjoy it? Was it fun?" *(Humphrey: "It was fun.") "It's something to do, right? Mission BBQ was good too, right?" (Humphrey: "That was the best part.") "I feel like they got something out of it. They may not admit it, but I think they gained something from it."
You put CB Tavon Young on PUP. Are you holding out hopes that he could possibly return? (Jamison Hensley)"No, that has to do with roster things. If you released him, someone else could claim him, and surely, someone would. There is a timeline on that for when you can put a player on IR."
CB Marlon Humphrey
On being put one-on-one against WR Breshad Perriman with the whole team watching: "It seemed pretty game-like, and I'm not used to doing something like that in practice, so that was definitely different. I liked it, the competitiveness with it. You know, one of the best receivers on the team versus the rookie kid, so it was fun, and it was a good little challenge."
On getting a pass breakup on the play:"I got a PBU. I was a little too tired to celebrate after – he was really rolling. He was definitely rolling."
On his expectations for his first training camp:"For me, just to get better. There are a lot of things I want to work on, so I'm just trying to learn the defense, get myself better and hopefully be a part in this team winning games."
On if he took away any messages from the rookies' trip to Gettysburg:"It was a good – I was just relieved to not practice, honestly – but going up there … I went up there when I was younger, and it's kind of different when you're young and you don't really notice some of these things and how important it is. But when you go when you're a little bit older, you get a big appreciation for people who fight for you and fight for this country. So, it's always good to learn about the history, because you don't want history to repeat itself. So, one of those things [you] learn about is how people put their lives on the line. It's always good."
On how beneficial it is for him to have some veteran corners ahead of him on the roster:"It's definitely good. You don't play that many years in the league at cornerback without knowing what you're doing. They've already told me some things here and there, and I'm just kind of trying to do what they do. This is their ninth [or] 10th training camp, so they've been at it for a while. So, the more I can learn from them and kind of take some of the things they do well and apply it to my game can only benefit me."
On how he would describe his first three-hour NFL training camp practice:"A little tiring. I don't know if we practiced three hours back in college, but it was fun. I like the one-on-one thing; I like the competitiveness. I think that's a big part of this team, the competitive nature, game-like battles. That's going to happen in the game a lot, and sometimes it's going to be you versus the guy in front of you and you know the ball is coming, so it's just whoever wins. So, first practice went pretty good. [I'm] a little winded, but I think everybody is a little winded. I think it went good."
On what he would say he is working on the most in camp:"For me, I want to make the most improvement with mainly the first two or three seconds at the line – getting my hands on guys, trying to stay in front of them, but also just learning the defense, becoming comfortable to where I kind of know it like the back of my hand. Those are my biggest two things, and I'm just trying to keep building on that."
WR Jeremy Maclin
On his excitement toward starting training camp with the Ravens: "I'm excited. I'm excited from a personal standpoint, but also from a team standpoint. Like everyone has been saying, this is a good group, a very talented group. I'm excited about us building chemistry and taking the proper steps to become a successful football team."
On if he feels he is mentally part of the Ravens after a whirlwind offseason: "Yes, absolutely. After the initial shock, I was on to the next. Luckily, I found a spot here in Baltimore and I couldn't have asked for a better spot to land. Like I said, I'm excited personally, for the team, and am looking forward to putting this work in during training camp."
On if he heard back from Bills RB LeSean McCoy after he made his decision to join Baltimore: "That's my guy. We're always going to talk. He was in my wedding. But, he understands that everyone makes that type of decision for themselves. He respects the decision I made."
On his expectations of himself, WR Mike Wallace and WR Breshad Perriman as a unit:"I think we should expect to be the best trio in the league. That's what we should expect and work for. You look at all three of us, and we all add something different to the table. We're also three guys who have the ability to do it all. I think that's what everyone should expect from us, and that's what we're going to work towards."
On if it's disappointing to not immediately work with QB Joe Flacco: "There's plenty of time for that. This is football. Stuff like that happens. I think the most important thing right now for Joe is to get healthy. We have to roll with what we've got. Right now, Ryan [Mallett] is out there throwing passes. Who knows what'll happen during the regular season? You just have to go out there, get the proper work in and proper reps."
On missing the ability to develop an early relationship with QB Joe Flacco: "We're all professionals. While you would like to have all your guns, if something doesn't work, you have to move on to the next. The most important thing right now is for Joe to get healthy. When Joe is out here, we'll get the work in. Right now, we're going to get all the reps we can get in with Ryan."
S Eric Weddle
Opening statement: "What a beautiful day! Shoot. Fire away, guys. Is everyone nervous, or what? Jeez. The first practice – great. There weren't many repeats, efficient, both sides making plays, competing. It was a great start, especially on the back end and as a whole. We're excited about the first day. It's a long process and [we're] just trying to reiterate to get the most out of today; don't worry about tomorrow, last night, or what's going on at home, what you can't control. We need everyone to be locked in every day. We can't have a day when you're not focused and not giving it your all."
On if it feels strange not having QB Joe Flacco on the practice field:"No. You get locked in. As a defense, we're just focused on us and trying to be the best that we can be. Joe, Ryan [Mallett], whoever is out there, we're just going and trying to work on what we can do. Joe is going to be back. We're not worried about how long he's going to be out. It'll be fine. He's one of the toughest guys on the team. He'll be leading us out whenever he wants to come back."
On when he heard about G/C John Urschel's decision to retire: "Yes, this morning. It's unfortunate. Obviously 'Ursch' [Urschel] is a great dude, competitor, teammate. It's unfortunate, but that's his decision. As a team, and as a leader, you can't worry about the outside or what individuals do, per se. We're going to go out and play with who we have and move forward. We wish him the best and know he's going to do great things in his future. But, it's not with us. We have to move forward."
On if players are aware of published CTE studies: "I think it's personal preference to look into it or not look into it. I've been playing tackle football since first grade, and I'm as sharp as ever. I don't really pay attention to it. I'm just trying to do my job and do the best that I can. I'll worry about that stuff later down the line. I think if you take care of yourself as you get older – you're healthy, you exercise, challenge your mind and not just sit back and do nothing – that has more of an effect than playing football. I may be different on the issue, but I don't tend to worry about things I can't control. What I can control is being the best at what I do."
On if the team could embrace the addition of QB Colin Kaepernick: "I don't really care who they bring in or what they do. If it helps our team, bring them all in. But, that's upstairs. That's for the coaching staff, Ozzie [Newsome], Eric [DeCosta, assistant general manager] and [owner Steve] Bisciotti to figure out who they want to bring in. Whether he's the right guy? I don't really know. I don't really care. We're just trying to be the best team, continue the camaraderie and to compete. If he does bring him ... If not, we're fine where we're at."
On the importance of having DT Brandon Williams re-signed: "Just last year being in this defense for my first season … It's just nice to have a true nose guard. Him and [Michael] Pierce in there, with Pierce being in his second year … [There's] more on Brandon's plate, getting that extension and knowing what to expect out of him. He's got to be the best in the league, and he knows that. It shows every day by his work and how he practices. We expect to be one of the top run defenses in the league and top defenses. Anything short of that is unsuccessful and won't be tolerated as a group. That's the focus. It obviously helps me, so I don't have to get in there and worry about the run so much. I can just worry about the pass, free myself up and go make plays."
On his expectations of rookie CB Marlon Humphrey: "Consistency. I don't like to see hills and valleys, a good practice then get torched the next day. He has a huge transition to make, because it's the NFL. He's talented and a great kid. He works hard, wants to be good and is in a great situation where he has two older guys to learn from [Brandon Carr and Jimmy Smith] and really pick apart how to play and be a pro. He's going to be called upon at some point this season – either early, middle, late – and he's going to have to come in and make plays for us. We believe in him, and it's just staying on him and being consistent."
On if training camp gets easier or more difficult as he gets older: "I'm not getting old! What do you mean? I haven't even hit my prime yet. Shoot. Did you see me running out there? It was amazing. *(laughter) *I think you don't take it for granted. I get more excited as each year passes. Who knows what the future is and how many years I have left. I try to treat each day like it's my last. If this is my last season … Who knows what the future holds? You don't know. I don't know. I'm going to give everything I've got for my teammates and this organization to try to get us back in the playoffs and win a championship. I think I get more excited and enjoy the little things, where before, you'd drag on with more meetings, getting up early. Now, you relish that kind of stuff. You try to tell the young guys that it doesn't happen often, that you get to play this long, so you better enjoy it."
RB Danny Woodhead
On his first training camp practice with the Ravens: "It was good. Offseason was great. Getting that time to prepare in the summer was really good, too. Now it's here. It's been a long time coming, from the day I signed to offseason workouts beginning. It's an exciting time for us."
On not having QB Joe Flacco practicing: "I think Joe has played a few years, so he'll be able to figure it out. With whoever is out there, we're going to go out there and work as hard as we can – get the timing and whatever it may be. Yes, it would be great to have him out there, but I think it's going to be OK. He's a professional. He knows how to throw a football and read defenses. I think it's going to be OK."
On his potential role with RB Kenneth Dixon's injury:"I think whatever role I end up getting, I have to go out there and play well in order to have a role. Whatever the coaches ask me to do, I'll be ready for. I feel like whatever they ask me to do, I can go out and do. It's tough – Kenny [Dixon] is a great guy. You hate to see that happen. As far as roles right now? We're in Day One of camp. What we want to do is make sure to get the plays in and doing things correctly. I think all that stuff is going to play out how it's supposed to. I'm not someone who is too concerned with that. I'm concerned with the next set of meetings I have, so we'll see how it plays out."
On his friendly competition with S Eric Weddle at practice: "It's always fun to talk back and forth. It's a lot of fun. We come out here and we're practicing for however long it is, and you want to have fun. It's a game. You want to compete against each other. Yes, it's our teammates at the end of the day, so we want what's best for each other. But, I want to beat him when I'm out there. I don't want to lose; I want to win."
On adapting to different offensive terminology: "In the NFL, there's going to be some here, some there, that may be similar. The diagrams of football plays are football plays. If you can't study your playbook, then you're going to have a problem. It's our job to play football, know what to do and be able to execute the plays that you're asked to do. Even if it was another language, it's my job to know what to do. So, it shouldn't really matter."
On if it's surprising to see a young player like G/C John Urschel retire: "Honestly, [John] Urschel is a great dude. That was his decision, and obviously, we support him. That's what's best for him. As far as surprising? I don't know. I can't say I've looked around the league and been like, 'There's a 27-year-old retiring.' I'm focusing on what my job is. I think it might complicate things if I start worrying about other people."
On who the new smartest guy on the team is: (laughs) "I don't know. 'Ursch' [John Urschel] was definitely pretty smart. I don't have that answer for you. I think we're looking into getting an SAT for everyone. I'll let you know what the scores are."