TRAINING CAMP: Day TWO Transcripts
Head Coach John Harbaugh, Secondary Coach Chris Hewitt, CB Brandon Carr & QB Joe Flacco
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "Great seeing everybody. Thank you for being here. It's a different feel for training camp, isn't it, without the fans here? It's kind of crazy. But, we do have the construction workers up there. Do you see those guys up there? I just want to assure all our fans, and everybody else, that all of the construction workers have been fully vetted – none of them are from Cincinnati or Pittsburgh! We've checked them all out. We'd have a construction ban on any worker traveling from Cincinnati or Pittsburgh to here to work on our facility during training camp practices. So there's your scoop. Is that going to be controversial, you think?" (laughter) (Reporter: "Not until the District Court throws it out.") "Not until the District Court throws it out. *(laughs) *Very good.
"A couple things: David Olson – we signed David as a quarterback. We talked about bringing a quarterback in here. We had to get another quarterback to get a few practices, a few reps. David did a nice job today. He didn't do any team, but he did do the individual stuff. Marshal [Yanda], you have noticed, is not practicing – that's by design. Tony Jefferson is limited. Marshal has been out here in the afternoon, AACT, walk-through practices, and he'll continue to do that until I think he can benefit from practice – which is probably going to be a while. The other guys can benefit from those reps.
"The last thing is that we are really looking forward to practicing Sunday night at the stadium. I hope everyone gets out there; it's going to be crazy. I can't wait to see the [new video] boards myself. The field has been re-sodded. The [ribbon] boards that surround [the upper levels] are going to be up. Whatever you call those things. They're double-decker. I just think the whole thing is going to be incredible. It's going to be a dry run for our technical people, so if the whole thing shorts out, it's practice! We'll get through it. Our players are looking forward to it, too. So, I hope the fans are, and I hope they show up."
We saw TE Crockett Gillmore walk off. Is that just a tweak? (David Ginsburg)"Yes, I didn't even see it. No one said anything to me. He made it through most of the practice. So, I don't really know. I haven't heard anything yet."
I'm not going to harp on injuries, because I am doing a story on S Tony Jefferson and CB Brandon Carr. Jefferson, you say, is limited? (David Ginsburg)"Jefferson had sports hernia surgery. I think he's four to five weeks out from it. It's normally a six-week deal. He says he is 100 percent. He's already in my ear all through the practice to let him go more, and I'm just holding him back right now."
What about the addition of those two to an already pretty solid defensive backfield? (David Ginsburg) "I'm more excited about that – that's the idea. You put two experienced players in there, on top of Eric [Weddle] and Jimmy [Smith], with our young guys, to me, is pretty exciting. 'Webby' [Lardarius Webb] … We have a nice mix of players who've done it before and also, some good young players. We expect our secondary to be dominant."
How encouraging is it to see CB Marlon Humphrey come up with the kind of day he had today? (Garrett Downing)"Very encouraging. To me, it follows the process: results follow the process. He's been paying attention to detail with technique, and trying to do things the way we're coaching him to do them. He combines that with talent. He's very smart. That's what you look for – those kinds of results."
*Coach, you brought up QB Colin Kaepernick yesterday, and today you go ahead and sign David Olson. Does that preclude Colin? Is that something you discuss as an organization? Was Steve Bisciotti and the front office involved in any discussion. (Jerry Coleman) *"Well, yes, depending on the level of the conversation. Steve was not involved, or Dick [Cass], in Olson, in all honesty. But, if you're talking about a player like Colin … Those are two different categories of players. I don't think one precludes the other, because they're different categories of players completely. That's part of our process, right there."
**Have you seen enough from QB Colin Kaepernick on film to where he can play? Have you seen anything from him? I know you've talked to him. *(Jerry Coleman) *"Oh, absolutely. His whole career speaks for itself. I think his body of work speaks for itself, from what I understand. We haven't worked him out. But, from what I understand … He tells me he's in first-grade shape; he's been throwing. I take it on his word there – I'm sure he is. We'll just see how it plays out. It has to do with our need. Joe is day to day. Do we really need to make that move or not? That's the decision that really has to be made. There are a lot of layers to it, just from a football standpoint. I'll focus on the football part. If there are other layers to it, then that's taken into consideration at the appropriate level."
You've added some experience in the secondary. Has your approach changed? (Mike Preston)"That's a good observation, because you might have noticed that we're getting up in people's face a lot. I think that's what people are going to see when they play against us. They're going to see a lot of press coverage, and that's how we want to play and have always wanted to play. It goes back, probably, with this franchise, all the way back. The answer is 'yes.'"
**When you were evaluating CB Brandon Carr, how much did the durability factor into the team's decision? *(Jeff Zrebiec) *"The durability was a big part of it, no question. You have to be so impressed with the fact he practices every day in his whole career and plays all the time. Knock on wood – that continues. We'll put our faith … We'll trust that … But, that shouldn't be the insinuation of the question, that we chose durability over talent or how good he is, because he was the best player, too. He was also the best corner on the market at the time, and that's why we took him. The way he plays fits us really well, and we wanted that. I would say that the durability was a bonus."
Have you seen CB Marlon Humphrey reach out to the veterans for advice? (Andy Kostka) "Absolutely. Marlon has done a great job of taking the advice of all those guys. They have a good [meeting] room; they communicate really well, good leadership. Part of why he's gotten to where he's at, and part of why I believe where he's going to go, is because he's willing to do that."
Last time I was out here was the end of minicamp, and we were talking about going to the beach, reading and getting Zen and not getting mad at traffic … (Jason La Canfora) "I never said the word 'Zen,' for the record. Thank you I don't use the word 'Zen.' I'm not a Zen guy." (Reporter: "You didn't blanch at me saying it.") "Well, I considered the source. I heard where it was coming form. You're a Zen kind of guy. Now Jerry [Coleman] is over there going, 'Oh oh oh,' because Jerry is Zen kind of guy, too, right?" (Reporter: "I can't even spell it.") *"That's probably true, actually." *(laughter) (Reporter: "Anyway, it seemed like you were trying to see the big picture. You know what I'm getting at? You remember that conversation?) *"It was vacation. I was looking forward to vacation. Can everyone out there relate to looking forward to a couple weeks off?" *(Reporter: "My question was going to be: How is that holding up?") *"How was vacation?" *(Reporter: "First part: How was vacation?") "Vacation was nice."* (Reporter: Second part: "Have you been able to maintain that? It's been kind of a quirky few days.") *"Have I been able to maintain it? Well, I would like to think in the philosophical realm that you're digging into … I would like to think that I've grown as a person, so that I handle stress better than yesterday or 10 years ago. I guess the answer is 'yes.' I'm a better human being than I was before vacation. *(laughter) *How does it go? The two paths? I came upon a fork in the road, and I took the one less travelled – the better one. When you come to a fork in the road – take it."
Taking QB Joe Flacco's injury out of the question, if QB Colin Kaepernick is out there and available, and he would be willing to play … Wouldn't the team be better with a guy at that level? (Stan Charles) "Those are all of the things we're talking about, and they have to be answered. You have to check all those boxes off before you can pull the trigger and do something. We're in the process of doing that. There's a reason Colin hasn't signed yet, all those things, all the considerations and factors. There's also a football fit kind of a thing, too. You need to look at your offense and say, 'OK, when you talk about the backup quarterback or the third quarterback …" You know, Ryan Mallett is here, too, and we have Joe Flacco. We like Ryan Mallett as a quarterback, and he fits into the offense. You just have to figure all that stuff out and see what's best for your team. I guess the question was, when you start with, 'How good of a football player is this?' Absolutely, he's a good enough football player to be here. That's where you start, for sure."
Secondary Coach Chris Hewitt
What are your initial impressions of CB Marlon Humphrey? (Peter Schmuck)"He is doing a great job. He is growing as a player, working on his craft and getting his technique down. I think he is an extremely competitive player. We will see what happens when the pads come on and see how he reacts to NFL-type competition. But, I think he is more than prepared [after] playing at a school like Alabama. He faced that type of competition before, and he is going to be a guy that we will be counting on this year."
How do you feel about the secondary as a whole? (Dave Ginsburg)"I am really elated to have the kind of talent that we have in our secondary. We have more depth than we had in a lot of years here. There are a lot of guys that are going to be counted on throughout the year, because you know in the secondary guys go down, and we have had some people throughout the years go down that we were counting on, and we were pretty thin there. This year, we have a lot of depth, and that is the thing that I am really proud of. On top of that, we have talent."
Will this secondary be more physical than in previous years? (Mike Preston) "Oh, absolutely. We have some length at corner, and we signed up Tony Jefferson this year back there, and he is going to be a hard-hitter for us back there that will be a type of intimidator and tackler. We are a solid secondary, and we are growing to be one of the better secondaries in this league."
What kind of resource is CB Brandon Carr for younger players? Not just for knowledge and how he goes about things, but obviously the durability and how he prepares. (Jeff Zrebiec) "The thing is, ever since we signed Brandon Carr, everyone is talking about his durability. That is all great; you have to be available. Your best talent is your availability. But, not only that, this guy is a very talented football player. He is a smart football player and a guy that has been a No. 1 corner for a lot of years in this league. You can't be a No. 1 corner in this league without talent. He is a person that is going to go out there, and he is going to study the game. He is studying the receivers. He is studying routes, and he knows our defense. He knows where his help is going to be. It gives him an opportunity that if he needs to take a chance and go make a play on the ball, then he can do that. If he is to go cover a guy one-on-one, he is more than talented enough to go match up with the receivers in this league."
What does CB Marlon Humphrey have to improve on? (Andrew Kostka) "Right now, he has to make sure that his technique is always sound, as far as press technique is concerned. He has to continue to keep working on his stuff with man technique and off technique. Also, getting his hands on the ball. He made a great step today; he had two picks today. Those are the things that I want to see him continue to keep on growing – making plays on the ball."
CB Jimmy Smith talked earlier this summer about being here all summer and getting in better shape. Is it evident? Do you see a different player in that regard? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Well, the thing with our new strength coach [director of performance] Steve Saunders … You see that Jimmy is pound-for-pound one of the strongest guys on our team. He has more strength than he has ever had this year. He is more explosive than he has been in years past, and he is bigger than he has been in years past. He is probably around 216 pounds right now. He is a big corner, he has great feet, [and he is] a talented football player."
Are your fingers crossed that it leads to CB Jimmy Smith playing 16 games? (Dave Ginsburg)"Well, you said it. Not me."
What kind of role could you see DB Lardarius Webb playing in this secondary?* (Stan Charles)*"Lardarius is a free safety-type player. Obviously, we will find some kind of role. We want to try and get our best football players on the field. However Dean [Pees] draws that up, we will get our best players on the field. If Lardarius is part of that plan that week, that is how we are going to roll. Lardarius is a guy that, playing corner, he can play in the slot. He has great range and ball skills, which is always evident, and he is a good open field tackler. We will get him on the field."
How is CB Brandon Boykin coming along since you picked him up? (Garrett Downing)"Right now, he is a little behind the eight ball because of where he came in. But, he is a person that is an experienced guy. We will see what happens going forward and where he ends up. We are extremely deep right now."
CB Brandon Carr
On what it feels like to be a part of the Ravens' secondary: "It feels great just to be on the field again. Day Two, got some good work in. But, I'm just excited for this year, playing a physical brand of football [with] a great group of guys, and right now, we're just trying to work and get better each and every day."
On if he agreed with John Harbaugh calling the secondary "dominant": "That's our mentality from Day One. Since we got together, the guys had a mindset of being the best group in the league. You have to work every single day for that. You can't just talk about it. Every single day, we're locked in, challenging each other and ourselves, to go out there and be our best."
On if he could explain his durability: "Preparation all around. I'm blessed to be able to play this physical brand of football, play this many years, and stay healthy. At the same time, it's preparation – offseason, during the season, any given time I'm thinking football and getting my body prepared for the grind of the season. Once this grind starts, from yesterday to February, there's a lot that goes into it. There's a lot of sacrifice, commitment. So, I just make sure I'm the best that I can be, both mentally and physically."
On if his teammates come up to him for advice: "We talk about it every now and then. I don't really have an answer for it. If I did, I'd probably write a book about it. I've just been blessed to be able to play this game. I've had injuries; we've all had injuries. We fight through them, play through them. I just love playing the game so much that if I have enough to give you, I'm going to give it to you."
On if he ever woke up on gameday, not wanting to play: "I wake up a lot of mornings, in-season and offseason, and I get out of the bed. I have some kids running around keeping me energized and mobile around the house. I'm just fortunate enough to play this game and play this high level with a great group of guys. Anytime I get up out of bed, I'm ready to go."
On his expectations for the Ravens' secondary: "To be the best that we can be – obviously, be the best in the league. So, we have to take it one day at a time."
On if it's different being with the Ravens compared to other franchises: "Yes, it's my first time seeing you guys. *(laughter) *I'm in a good space right now; I'm comfortable. The city is amazing, pretty low-key. It's a great opportunity for me to just come in and grind, play some good football, play a physical brand of football, play for a team that, since the '90s, me and my high school friends in the lockers talked about the Ravens' defense – the personality and mentality behind it. It's a great opportunity for me to come out here, represent and play for the Ravens organization."
On rookie CB Marlon Humphrey: "He's getting better every day, from OTAs until now. He has tremendous speed. The confidence is definitely coming, but he's a guy that the game is slowing down for him at the NFL level. He's checking our receivers all the way at the threes and fours and doing his job. He's a physical guy. He has blazing speed, and his instincts are finally kicking in."
On if Humphrey has reached out to him for advice: "A few times. I just try to give it to him as needed. He won't talk too much to a cornerback, but just give him a couple little tips, and let him go play. He has speed, recovery speed, physical, quick feet – he has it all. It's just up to him to go out there and put it to use, and he can perfect his game as he continues to grow in this league."
On if he had a veteran mentor as a rookie: "I had a lot of veteran guys in Kansas City. Started with coach Herm Edwards, a cornerback, had a lot of information for us. And, Pat Surtain was a guy who took me under his wing and showed me how to be a pro on and off the field. I know the importance of getting these young guys, mentoring them and showing them the ropes, because we all go through the same things from Day One until you leave this league. Even after you leave, there are still some things you go through. It's good we stay in each other's ear and be there for each other."
QB Joe Flacco
On how he's feeling:"I feel good. I am disappointed that I am not out there, but I feel good."
On when he thinks he will return to practice: "I'm not really sure. Hopefully not too long, but at the same time, it is kind of a waiting game. I think we are being conservative, a little bit cautious. I have some tightness down there [in my back]. I was out here over the weekend and dealt with a little bit of it afterwards. Hopefully, it is not too long, but at the same time, it is just one of those things where you have to be patient and not let your competitive nature get the best of you. I am talking about everybody – myself, and really, everybody. I want to be out there more than anybody, and it is tough to be sitting in the training room and watch everything go on."
On if he thinks he will be ready for the regular season opener:"I am not even thinking about that. I am just trying to take it day by day, really, at this point, and feel good."
On how his injury happened:"There isn't anything how it happened. It just kind of gradually got to this point. I have had some stiffness, and have just been dealing with it a little bit. Like I said, I was out there a couple days ago. It is kind of similar [to a couple days ago]. It has just maybe gotten a little tighter and just progressed a little bit. But, there is not any specific point."
On if he is expecting the injury to be minor and expecting to be back soon:"That is what I am saying. We are taking it day to day. That is what we are all hoping for. I want to be out there as soon as possible."
On if he has ever had any back issues in the past:"No. Obviously, I am a taller guy, so you might deal with it here or there, but I have never really dealt with anything [back related]. Pretty much everything that happens to me is new to me. I am just trying to take it day by day."
On if he is doing any special type of physical therapy:"I am really just resting. There are things that we are doing in there, but I would not say it is anything groundbreaking and special."
On if his back injury is a disc issue:"No. It is just a little bit of stiffness, I think, down there [in my back]. Like I said, I think we are being cautious about it. We are trying to be conservative about it. Hopefully, it calms down here pretty quickly, and I can get back out there."
On if there is a lot of pain associated with his injury:"No, not really. Right now, I am standing up here, and I feel great. I can honestly say that. It is just a little issue with bending over. I don't want to tweak it too much when I am out there throwing the ball, and I think that is why you end up being a little bit cautious about it."
On if he is throwing:"I am not throwing at all, no."
On if he will be re-evaluated in a week or if he will be playing in a week:"I think it is going to be a little bit of everything. I think it is going to be my feedback – how I am feeling and what I am saying. It will be a combination of that and the trainers and the doctors all getting together and putting our opinions together. I think a lot of it is going to come down to how I am feeling and what I am saying."
On if he has ever had back soreness during a season:"You deal with it a little bit. But, it is probably just at another level, and it is so early on in camp that it is kind of useless to push through and maybe hurt yourself even more. That is the thing: We have a little bit of time at this point, and we can take our time a little bit with it. It is not that I want to, but we can and that is why we are doing it."
On if he feels there is a "black cloud" over the Ravens with players getting injured and John Urschel's recent retirement:"We were talking about it yesterday – we can't break the news. It just is what it is. Things happen to guys, guys make decisions, and you just kind of have to roll with it."
On if he has been assured that this back injury isn't something that is going to bother him for the rest of the season:"Yes, it is going to calm down, and I am going to feel good. I think the big part of it is making sure I rest right now and don't push it to the extra point and make it something that I will be dealing with all season. I think if I take the rest now, it will be gone, and I won't even have to deal with it for the rest of the season."
On what his reaction is to the possibility of the Ravens adding QB Colin Kaepernick:"It is whatever. We need an extra arm in here right now, and Colin is the guy that is out there. I am sure he … If I am him, I want to play football. I know that we need an arm, and who knows what John [Harbaugh] and all the upstairs guys are thinking at this point. I think at this point, I am really open to anything. You can do whatever you want at this position, because I feel like I am the quarterback, and it does not really matter. I would like to see Colin get back in [the NFL], and at some point, maybe get another shot [to be a starter]. I wouldn't like that to be here. I do not want him to get another shot here, but yes, he can come here and have some fun. I think it would be a good spot for him."
On if he has any extra respect for QB Colin Kaepernick because they faced off in the Super Bowl:"I don't know. It is one of those games you think about, but I don't know if you think about that directly just because you played against him in the Super Bowl."
On if he has talked to QB Colin Kaepernick at all:"I have not, no."