*TRAINING CAMP: AUG. 7 PODIUM TRANSCRIPTS
Head Coach John Harbaugh, Running Backs Coach Thomas Hammock, QB Ryan Mallett & RB Terrance West
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"Good seeing everybody. The great Joe Theismann is here today. Joe, welcome, it is good to have you here. We had a good day, and we are getting ready for tomorrow. What do you have?"
We saw T Austin Howard is not out there. Is there anything? (Jamison Hensley)"That is just up to the trainers when guys get to practice. When they tell us he can practice, we will coach him."
How much of the offense is new, or how much of the run game is new that you come to the point when you feel like QB Joe Flacco could really use some reps to work on the timing? (Aditi Kinkhabwala)"The bottom line is as a coach, you want to get him there as soon as you can. That is the bottom line. I wanted him here yesterday. I wanted him here a week ago. I wanted him here the first day. As soon as he is ready to go, we will go to work and get him ready. I do not think it is going to be a problem; Joe knows the offense. But still, there is a rhythm and chemistry and timing and execution that, really, practice is valuable for. The sooner the better, but not before he is ready. Again, we just wait as coaches. When they tell us they can practice, we coach him. In the meantime, he is in meetings and all that and doing everything he can, just like all the guys."
But is it a lot of totally new things for QB Joe Flacco in all the years that you have had him? (Aditi Kinkhabwala)"No. No, it is not. He has been in the league … Gosh, how long has he been in the league? This his 10th year?" *(Reporter: "Yes, just like you.") *"I guess I should know that. *(laughter) *It all goes by so fast. But, he knows football. Every play we are running, he has run before numerous times, so that part of it is not a problem."
You said at the beginning about QB Joe Flacco that it would be a week, but you said it could be longer. We have gotten to a week. That does not cause concern? You are just waiting for the word from the doctors, is that what it is? (Jerry Coleman)"You do not worry about that. You coach … That is not a decision you make as a coach. That is in the hands of the medical people, and they make those decisions, and you coach the guys who are out here. Joe gets coached in meetings, just like all the other guys who are not out here practicing. That is how training camp goes for every player, and that is how it should work. The doctors make the decisions about when guys practice, and then when they get out there, we coach them up."
Just to clarify, T Austin Howard is here, but is he not practicing? (Bo Smolka)"That is correct."
WR Quincy Adeboyejo – how is he distinguishing himself? (Aditi Kinkhabwala)"[Quincy] Adeboyejo and other young free agents – the rookie free agent group – are good. We talked about that the other night, didn't we? I would say him, along with a couple of other guys, pretty much every day, they come out and they follow the Steve Smith advice: They make a play every day. In his case, he is running routes really well. He has learned how to run routes very quickly; he has picked it up really quickly. He is catching the ball well so far, but we keep the pressure on him. Take the next step, be better the next day, stack another good day, don't be looking backwards or looking forwards. A lot of those guys are doing a good job, and he is a great example of that."
You talked in the offseason about getting the run game revved up this year. What have you seen from that group? I know it has been a short time. What have you seen from that group in practice so far and what should we expect on Thursday? (Todd Karpovich)"We will see. That is the thing. Especially in the running game, you really do not know where you are at until you play somebody else. It can't be 100-percent full-speed out here. It is just too physical, too violent in there with those guys, in terms of just football and the pads cracking and all that and bodies flying. We will know when we get out there in the games and the preseason games and really into the regular season also – we will know for sure. It is a point of emphasis. We have been working really hard at it, and I like what we are doing. I really do. I like the way it is being coached, and I like the way the guys are working on the drills, and proof will be in the outcome."
What have you seen from RB Terrance West? He led the team in rushing last year, but he has had a full offseason now. Have you seen any difference or improvement from him coming into this year? (Jamison Hensley)"Sure, he is a young player still. I think he is steadily improving. Even physically, he is improving. He's maturing. He has worked really hard in the offseason. The mental part of it, in terms of the pass protection, is getting better. He's trying to make a statement that way, so we will see how it looks in the games, but he has made a little statement about both the passing game – routes – and the protection the other night. He works hard at that stuff, so you expect him to improve in every area."
A two-part question: It seems that QB Ryan Mallett has really settled in and had some good practices. Is that your take on it also? Also, does QB Joe Flacco's status affect how much QB Ryan Mallet plays in the first preseason game? (Jeff Zrebiec)"We will have to figure that out. I think Ryan will probably play pretty extensively. How much that ends up being will be determined. We will have a plan, but during the game, I will probably have to get a sense of that and how I feel about it during the game. But yes, it's an opportunity for Ryan to get ready. I think that is something … He has had that chance before. Last year in the offseason before Joe got back for training camp, those reps are really huge for quarterbacks. He will want to make the most out of all those reps with the 'ones,' and we will see where it goes from there."
Preseason is only a couple of days away. Is there an excitement in the locker room where everyone wants to get going? (Kyle Barber)"Yes, I think so. At this point in time, they are ready to go play against somebody else, and they have been playing against each other now for almost two weeks, and these are pretty tough practices and tough drills. They know each other pretty well right now, so they are ready to get in that environment and play a game and cut it loose a little bit and see where they are at."
The defense appears faster to my untrained eye. Is that fair, and what does that enable you to do?* (Aditi Kinkhabwala)*"That is the hope; that is the goal. We will see. We will find out a little bit. We are going against a really talented offense Thursday night. They have speed. They have a really good offensive line. [The Redskins have] maybe the best left tackle in football – one of them for sure – a veteran quarterback and skill players everywhere, so that will test us a little bit. We will see where we are at, and hopefully it will show up pretty well."
Are there any concerns with CB Marlon Humphrey? I know you do not want to give timetables, but we have not seen him out here for a few days. Is it anything serious with him? (Jamison Hensley)"Nothing to take … No, not really. It is just day-to-day. I was hoping he would be out here today."
Is DB Lardarius Webb your slot corner now? (Aditi Kinkhabwala)"We are working a lot of guys in there. Lardarius is in there. We have worked all … Marlon [Humphrey] was working in there earlier. Brandon [Boykin] has been there. We have not put Jimmy [Smith] in there. Jaylen [Hill] has been in there. [Anthony] Levine [Sr.] has been in there. So, everybody is working in there now. We have not settled on it."
Running Backs Coach Thomas Hammock
Opening statement:"How are we doing? It has been a good camp. We are certainly looking forward to playing on Thursday night."
What is your assessment thus far of the running backs that you have had? Is there any difference in them this year compared to last year? (Ed Lee)"I think anytime you are playing, you are always looking to improve, and I think guys have attacked the offseason and have done the things we needed them to do. They have certainly been in their playbooks, studying the plays, and I think you see improvement every day. But, until you get in the game and actually go do it, I think there is still going to be doubt."
What about RB Javorius Allen? Has he seized this opportunity in any way? (Aditi Kinkhabwala)"Last year during the season, I told 'Buck' [Javorius Allen] how proud I was of him for the way he handled playing the previous year and not playing as much last year. I think what you see from him is a guy that has matured. He has grown up, he has gotten stronger, he has done the things that he needs to do to put himself in a position to have a chance to be successful."
With RB Kenneth Dixon not healthy, is RB Terrance West a back that you think can get 20 or 30 carries in a game? (Ed Lee)"Certainly. Terrance, in college, I think he might have had 500 carries. I am exaggerating, but he certainly can handle the load. He has proven that. The thing that he is doing so well this year is he is bought into protecting the quarterback, which allows you to stay on the field longer and allows you to get more carries."
In addition to what RB Danny Woodhead brings on the field, what is an addition he has brought to the running back group?* (Luke Jones)*"He is just a professional. He has been there; he has done that. Nothing surprises him. He is a consummate pro, and I think young guys – whether you are drafted or undrafted – they can learn from him. He is a guy that has come through the ranks the hard way and has had a lot of success throughout his career."
How has FB/RB Lorenzo Taliaferro translated from running back to fullback?* (Kyle Barber)*"We are still in that process. Every day is a new day, and he is learning. Fullback is the one position where you are always making adjustments, and you always have to make things right. He is learning those adjustments daily."
How much collective work has the coaching staff put in to try and improve the run game from last year? (Jamison Hensley)"Obviously, every year is different. The biggest thing is that running the football is hard at any level. But, it is a softening process, and you have to be committed to softening the defense. And in the fourth quarter, you can have a chance to make yards, create big plays and explosive plays for the offense. But, you have to have patience and you have to be committed to it."
What has stood out to you so far about RB Taquan Mizzell? (Ryan Mink)"'Smoke' is his nickname. If you are from Virginia and you have a nickname, that means you were pretty good in high school. *(laughter) *But, he has come to work every day, he is making guys miss, he is aggressive, and he is really tough. I know some people are going to look at him and say he is a small guy, but he will throw his body in there, and he is not afraid to be physical."
Do you get a sense that there will be an emphasis this year on running the ball? (Ed Lee)"Yes. I think for us to improve at it, we have to do it. I think the one thing I am telling the backs is that you have to break tackles. You have to make people miss. The line can only block for so long, and you have to take it on your shoulders to take a 3-yard run and make it a 7-yard run. Second-and-3 is a lot better than second-and-7."
You guys used FB Kyle Juszczyk in a lot of third down passing situations as a single back because of his ability to pass protect. What have you seen from these younger guys? I know John Harbaugh has talked about wanting to see improvement there. (Luke Jones)"That is a big part of the game. You look at it … I think 'Juice' might have played over 400 snaps, and 250 of them were on third down, two-minute [offense]. All of those situations are important. If you are going to play that volume of plays, you have to make sure you protect the quarterback. You have to make sure after you protect, if an offensive lineman gets beat, then you help them out. A back is the last line of defense, and our job is to make sure the quarterback doesn't get hurt. We have to make sure that whoever is out there doesn't put the quarterback in harm's way."
QB Ryan Mallett
On if he feels like he has settled in at practice: "We're out here at training camp – I think we're at practice by 8 or 9 – so every day we're just trying to get better, trying to get more cohesive and get our timing down. So, I think we're coming along."
On the opportunity Thursday's preseason game presents: "Every game is a big opportunity, every practice is a big opportunity. Right now, we're worried about practice tomorrow – we're taking it day to day. Wednesday night we'll start gearing up for Thursday."
On if he has talked to head coach John Harbaugh about his participation in Thursday's game: "I'll always prepare as if I was starting. To me, that's the only way you can do it and try to be successful, anyway. You know, every week I prepare like the starter, just in case."
On how he has stayed focused amidst the flurry of quarterback rumors: "Like I said, I'm just trying to get better – better in sync with my teammates, better timing, so I have tunnel vision. I'm not really worried about what's going on outside this building."
On the undrafted rookie wideouts' performances: "Those guys, even since the spring, they're improving. Every day they're making some big plays, and it's exciting to see from our position, to be able to throw the long ball to those guys, and they go get it, and they can get open."
On if his performance is heightened during a game compared to practice: "I wouldn't say that. It's gameday; it's just a little bit different. You have a little more juice, a little more, I don't know, electricity in the air. It's always fun to get out there and play."
On if he thrives off that electricity and is able to perform better: "I like to play better all the time, but that's why it's practice. Gamedays are always fun to get going."
On if it's difficult to not practice and then perform in a game situation: "I wouldn't say it's difficult. I've done it for a few years now, so I'm used to it. During practice, I treat it as a game – just to try to stay sharp."
On his goals for Thursday's preseason game: "Well, first of all, we want to win the game. That's the No. 1 goal. I don't know. There's not much more to say than that."
On his personal goals for Thursday's preseason game: "Win the game. That's the goal, man. It's always to win the game."
On the run game: "It's progressing. I think everything we're doing is really good and we're getting better every day – that's the goal. It's what training camp is for – to tighten up the little things, and those guys up there are blocking, I can tell you that. It's fun to be able turn around and look and see the hole just wide open, you know?"
On how the run game supports the passing game: "They're both equally as important. You know, you run the ball, you can set a play-action, and it makes the defense soften up a little bit. It's very important to run the ball."
RB Terrance West
On the difference in himself between this season and last season:"It is not that much different from last year. We have a new scheme coming in and have a new run game. I keep the same focus right now – that is performing on the field."
On how the running scheme fits him:"[The scheme is] downhill. [I] keep my pad level forward to the field. That is the way I like to run. That is how I was at Towson University."
On how excited he is to utilize the improved running game on Thursday:"I can't wait. Practice is hard, in the game, it is easy. I can't wait until Thursday to get a few plays in there. I might bust a long one. I am excited."
On if he has any anxiety about getting his timing down with QB Joe Flacco:"No, that is not a big issue. That is an issue with wide receivers and quarterbacks, but handing the ball off to me is not a big issue."
On if the team feels different or if the players are missing QB Joe Flacco:"Yes, it is Joe Flacco. Of course we will be missing Joe Flacco. But, it is all about the next man up in this league."
On how prepared he is to be the No. 1 running back:"I am very prepared. I worked my tail off all season. I just have to go out there and perform and have funs – do what I do."
On if pass protection is something he has been working on: "Yes, that part is definitely a big issue, and I worked my tail off and worked on that in the offseason. I am well prepared for that."
On what RB Javorius Allen is like in the meeting room:"'Buck' Allen is a good guy. He is funny. That is a close friend to me off the field, and he is a great kid to be around."
On if he dropped a lot of weight in the offseason:"I dropped weight and gained more muscle."
On how much weight he lost:"I lost 12 pounds."
On if he was as slim as he is now at Towson: "At Towson, I was between 220-225 [pounds]."
On if this is the least he has weighed in a long time: "Yes. Last year I was about 200 towards the beginning."
On if he feels different after losing weight:"Yes, I feel great. I am in great condition, and I am ready to get after it."
On if he feels like he could handle up to 30 carries in a game:"Yes, for sure. I would to love to have 30 carries a game. That is amazing."
On if he thinks he gets better over a course of a game:"Yes. As the game goes, I get stronger and stronger. I get to feel the defense out and see the linebackers pursuing the ball and get lanes for cutbacks."
On some of his goals for the 2017 season:"For this season? First one in our division – for us to win our division and get a run to the Super Bowl. For me, to get over 1,000 yards and get the run game back going. I am from Baltimore, so I have been a Ravens fan all my life. We have to get this run game back going how it used to be."
On if he gets a sense that there is more of a commitment to the run this season:"I think so. The way things are going, I feel like the run game is going to be a big part of our game."
On what it is like to play for senior offensive assistant/tight ends coach Greg Roman:"He is a great coach. He is funny, and he also knows the scheme. He was up there [in San Francisco] with Frank Gore, and that is who I compare my game to – like a Frank Gore-type guy. It is going to be a big advantage for us this year."
On if the team is practicing more run plays:"No, we are a well-balanced team. Don't get me wrong, we are well-balanced. But this year, we have to get the run game back going – that is the big key. To pass the ball, you have to have a good run game."
On how much he is looking to prove that he can be a lead tailback:"I just have to run the ball correctly, pass protect, keep Joe [Flacco] clean and also catch the ball out of the backfield. So, that is not a problem. I just have to stay healthy and everything else will take care of itself."
On what he has learned from RB Danny Woodhead:"How to get open catching passes out of the backfield. He is a great guy to get open, and I watch how he does things. He is professional off the field and on the field."
On what he likes the most about RB Frank Gore:"He is patient. He has great vision, and people sleep on his speed. He can take it the distance."
On if he has any words of advice for fantasy football owners:"It would be smart to grab me. That is the smart way to do it." (laughter)
On why it would be smart to pick him in fantasy football: "Why is that? You will see."