Ravens Training Camp Transcripts (Aug. 25)

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement:"Good to have you guys here. We had some really neat visitors – four patients from the University of Maryland pediatrics. Dr. [Eric] Strauch brought them over, so that was really neat, and the guys got a kick out of that. We're getting ready for the lions."

John, what do you look for out of QB Joe Flacco in the third preseason game? Is it more or less great that he's just back out there, or are results important?* (David Ginsburg)*"Results are always important. If it's important enough to go out there and put the guys in that situation, it's important enough to do well. That's the idea. We want to do as well we can. We're playing against a really good team. Watching the Lions on tape – and they are very talented, defensively – they have a big, strong front, and it's going to be a challenge. But we expect to go out there and play well."

Are you confident that he can take a hit and shrug it off? (David Ginsburg)"If I wasn't, he wouldn't be out there."

When will you know that he's really ready? (Shawn Stepner) "I think it'll be obvious to everybody. There's no magic to it; it's just how he plays.  I'll know as much as you know or the fans know. It won't be hard to tell how he does. We've seen him in practice every day, so there's no doubt. It kind of goes with Dave's question: There's really no doubt that he's ready to play. But football is risky for everybody. That's just the way it works. You have to weigh the benefits with the risk and put them out there. Joe is a quarterback. He's not going to break. He's going to play. We're planning on him playing well, just like he has in practice. It will be his first game action in a long time. I'm sure that's going to be a factor, but I'd rather have it be in this game than in two weeks from now against the Bills."

With Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin there, do you see any of the Ravens' fingerprint on film? (Joe Platania) "Sure, absolutely. The defense is a basic structure, but Teryl has obviously put his own version of it together. Coach Caldwell has coach Lions offensive coordinator, Jim Bob] Cooter as an offensive coordinator, but you can certainly see Jim's personality all over that team."

**WR/RS Keenan Reynolds, can you appreciate what this guy is going through as a quarterback star at Navy to now a rookie trying to make the team as a wide receiver? *(David Ginsburg) *"That's just a really good point. This is new for him. It's a whole new position and a whole new level. It's tough enough to go to another level at this level, even for first-round picks. Yet, here he is going to a new level and playing a completely new position that he's never played before in his life. I think it's pretty admirable, and it's pretty amazing he's playing as well as he is. That's understanding that he certainly has a ways to go. He knows that more than anybody, but it's pretty amazing what he has accomplished."

Coach, with WR Breshad Perriman, how has he looked so far? Does he look good enough to suit up Saturday? (Jerry Coleman)"We'll see. It's up to the doctors. They'll let me know. We'll meet on that this afternoon, the doctors and trainers, and see where he's at with all of that. He hasn't gone full speed in practice yet, as you know, but today is not a full-speed practice for anybody. We'll just have to see."

*Are OLB Terrell Suggs and OLB Za'Darius Smith OK? (Luke Jones) *"Za'Darius has a little ankle issue that he had yesterday in practice. You guys saw, so it's not a major thing. I doubt he'll play. No sense in putting him out there with a sprained ankle."

As you look at the team this deep in camp, what do you like about it? What makes you confident that this is going to be a good year for the Ravens?* (David Ginsburg*) "I don't want to get into that list. Either we're going to be good or we're not. It's what we do, not what we say. We can talk about it all we want. I have reasons for optimism, and I have reasons for pessimism. It's just going to matter how well we coach, how well we play."

How healthy you are?* (David Ginsburg)* "All of it. All of it. It all factors in, and that's why we play them. [There are] 16 games this year, and we plan on winning them all. That's the goal. We'll see what happens."

John, they call this the all-important third preseason game, I guess, for a number of reasons: You get to see your starters, but also you have guys that this is their last chance to show you what they have. Is that the way you look at it?* (Jerry Coleman)"It's definitely important for everybody. Next week will be important for the guys who play next week. There will still be decisions to be made right until the end. It's critically important for everybody. This is what guys have been working for their whole life. Whether you're a starter who is capping your career like Steve Smith [Sr.] – he's not playing in this game, at least that I know of; we'll see, maybe he'll decide to tomorrow (laughter) *– or you're a rookie that's trying to make the squad for the first time, everything is important."

When you brought up Indiana head basketball coach Tom Crean's speech after the game about resiliency and what you stand on from last year, how have you seen that manifest this year? (Jeff Zrebiec) "To me, they have done that. You're better for every experience you go through. You apply your faith to your circumstances and do your best. We've had a couple of messages to us, Tom's being one of them, and a couple of really great messages along those lines. They were kind of spiritual in nature – philosophical in nature – about what success is and what it means. The thing I mentioned to them today after practice is, that's all important. And you have to do your part. Your part is to get better. Your part is not to stay the same. If you stay the same, you're getting worse. You're not getting better; you're getting worse. You never stay the same. Your goal has to be to come out here and get better, and it's hard to do. You have to work at it. You have to do it at a pace that outpaces your competition, because we're going head to head with 31 other teams in the National Football League. You do your best. You get as good as you can get today and trust in the things that you believe in, and see where it takes you."

 

QB Joe Flacco

On how he feels heading into the Lions game: "It is the same as any other game – any other preseason game. I'm looking forward to getting out there. I'm excited about it; it has been a while. Obviously, I had to go through a little bit to get here to this point to where I can go back out there and play with my guys. That is really what I'm looking forward to – just getting back out there in live action and being in a real huddle and just seeing everybody's eyes and how excited they are to get after it."

On if he is nervous for the game: "Not right now, there are not [nerves]. There is always a little bit [of nerves] on Sunday, or in this case Saturday. There will be a little bit."

On if he thinks about what it will be like to take a hit:"No. I don't usually know they are coming, anyway. You are usually picking yourself up off the ground, and everything has happened so quickly. Hopefully it is the same as it always has been."

On if he doesn't want to take a hit:"It would be great not to get hit. I don't need to get hit. But if I do, it is not a bad thing, either."

On if the average person understands how tough a process coming back from an ACL is: "Well, obviously, if you have not gone through it, you don't know what it is like to go through it. But, it is not the worst thing in the world. There are a lot of people who don't play football and have to get their ACLs redone. It is probably harder on them to get back to what they once were, because they have to go out there and work and do rehab. My work was rehab. I have to get back to the level that a professional athlete would be at, which they don't necessarily have to do. But it is really tough either way. You have to go through it to get back to where you want to, and you clear some mental hurdles here and there. If you show up and just do your work, it is not the biggest deal in the world. I feel like that is what I was able to do and keep a good mind about the whole thing."

On if the rehab process was what he expected:"I don't know. You hear guys after they get it and after they go through the rehab, and you hear some horror stories about it and things like that. It was probably better than I expected it to be."

On if playing in the third preseason game was the best-case scenario for him:"I could have played in the first two games. It's just, was it really worth it? Probably not, because you are just going to get a couple series anyway. I really don't feel like I need to play in games to be ready to play in Game 1. I want to put myself through that whole process. I don't need to, but I want to. I think I'll be better for it. That is the reasoning for the whole thing."

On how much he anticipates to play Saturday:"I'm going to just anticipate it like a third preseason game, where we normally play right around the half and then see what happens."

On what he has seen from the younger players such as T Ronnie Stanley, G/T Alex Lewis and RB Kenneth Dixon while watching them from the sidelines:"To be honest with you, it has been tough to watch games from the sidelines. I can't wait to get back out there, where you are more engaged in the game at that point. Those guys … I see Ronnie every day out here. I think he is doing a great job, along with Alex Lewis at left guard. I think those guys are progressing big time. Then, the running backs – it is always interesting to see them go in live action. Kenneth Dixon has had a run each week where you thought he was down for five seconds and he gets six, seven, eight, nine more yards out of it. You can see in practice how shifty he is and how well he sees things and some of the cuts he makes. I think he has been pretty impressive transferring that over to the games."

On if he will have a "handshake agreement" with former Ravens DT Haloti Ngata:"I don't think so. (laughter) It will be interesting to see him. I'm used to seeing him over there [on defense], but it will be interesting seeing him in some other colors, for sure."

On if he is optimistic about the Ravens' offensive weapons:"I am. We are starting to get some guys back that we haven't had a ton of work with, but I was telling [offensive coordinator] Marc [Trestman] yesterday that we walked off the practice field feeling like we accomplished a lot pretty much every day of camp. There was one day in there where we probably looked back at practice and said, 'Man, we weren't where we wanted to be.' But, all the other days, I feel like we got a lot of good work in and could feel good about what we were doing. I'm confident about it. I'm very optimistic."

On how his relationship with offensive coordinator Marc Trestman has evolved since last year:"That is a funny question. I don't know. It is typical just getting to know somebody better and really just going out there and getting an idea of … Really, him getting an idea of what we are good at and I would like to do. Same thing for him. For me back to him, it is just the communication and giving him feedback on what I like and what I don't like so we can take the most successful things into the game. I think when you are with somebody – the longer you are with somebody – the more easily that communication is taken in a good way and actually utilized."

On what it has been like having WR Breshad Perriman back, even if it hasn't been for a very long time:"[I have] not really [had much time]. Yes, he has been out for a couple walk-throughs, and I've thrown a couple routes versus air to him. He looks good."

On if the priority is getting back out there with his teammates on Saturday and getting acclimated: "I think the big thing about preseason is getting back out there and getting oiled up. Part of that is playing well. I think a big part of going into the first game of the season is confidence in what we have and how we have done in live games. Obviously, it is not as important as a regular season game, but I think for our confidence as a team – and especially some of the young guys we have out here – to just get them used to winning football, it is pretty important."

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