Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"Thanks for coming out. First of all, [we had a] very physical practice. We worked on goal line, short-yardage, four-minute, most of the physical situations, three-tight-end-type of personnel groupings and heavy defensive groupings. It was a very important day in training camp for us – especially for the young guys who got a lot of reps, and we did some live work. We had a live goal line period, and we had a live short-yardage period with the young guys. It was spirited and good, and I think we learned a lot from that. A couple of announcements: Kenneth Dixon and Will Davis, those guys … Will Davis was out [there] today, so he's back. He was nursing a knee. He had the surgery and everything, so we gave him a few days to rest that. Kenneth Dixon is getting close, so he went through the walk-through yesterday, which was positive. [Lardarius] Webb we gave a day off. [Michael] Campanaro we gave a day off. With those guys, we're just trying to monitor their situations as best we can and keep those guys healthy. Bronson Kaufusi, you saw him leave practice; he has a broken ankle. We were in one of our non-live periods, one of our normal thud periods, and one of the other players fell on his leg, unfortunately. That happens. You try to avoid that. You do everything you can to keep players off the ground, but sometimes guys fall, and that's what happened with Bronson. I'm sure he'll be out for the year. We had a couple of players here today. Sam Gash was here, who obviously, was a great fullback and great coach in this league, and Vonta Leach, another fullback. It must have been the day of fullback today. *(laughter) *Think about it, we had goal line, short-yardage, four-minute, heavy personnel groups, and the fullbacks showed up. I think that's very appropriate."
John, how tough is that for DE Bronson Kaufusi, a guy who worked really hard to get the opportunity, to hurt himself in a freak accident? (Jeff Zrebiec)"It's always tough. I look at Brent Urban … Just when you asked the question, I looked right over at Brent Urban right behind the cameras, and he went through it two years in a row. That's a part of the game; it's a part of football. It happens for a reason, in my opinion. You have to look at it that way. It'll be an opportunity for him to take the next year and go to work on his body and become a mature NFL football player physically. He's young, and he needs a lot of work on his lower body, strength-wise and flexibility-wise. He was playing well, but he's only going to be better next year. We'll get him in the weight room, we'll get him with our conditioning coaches, and he'll be a much better player a year from now than he would have been this year. He's just got to look at it that way. You have to look at it that it happened for a reason. It's an opportunity, and you're going to make the most of it."
How have DE Lawrence Guy and DE Brent Urban looked so far in camp? (Jamison Hensley)"They've looked very good. They're running one and two back and forth. They're battling for that spot, and they're both playing well."
How has OLB Victor Ochi looked so far in practice? (Nick Klopsis) "Victor has looked good. He's explosive. He's a pass rusher as advertised. This guy, his motor is running hot every play. He's coming off the ball, he's trying to get to the quarterback, and he's chasing the run. We grade effort, and it's very rare that he doesn't get a plus on his effort. He's a young guy. He has a lot to learn, but [I am] pretty fairly excited about him. He does have a ways to go. He was a defensive end over there at Stony Brook, and he was always rushing the passer. We have to do some other things in our defense that he has to learn, but I'd say he's right on track."
Are any of the other Physically Unable to Perform guys getting close? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I really don't have anything. I haven't talked to [vice president & head athletic trainer] Mark [Smith]. I'm sure they're getting closer, but how close they are remains to be seen."
What have you seen from LB Albert McClellan so far this camp? (Ryan Mink)"Albert is the same player that he's been. He probably continues to get better because of all of the reps he's having at SAM linebacker, but Albert has always been a good player. Albert has started here at times, and he's never disappointed. He's battling for the spot. The spot is certainly up for grabs, just like a lot of spots are. But he's the leader right now, and he's doing a good job."
Tomorrow is practice eight out of 16. We're pretty much at the halfway point. Are you on schedule with what you want installed and have far you've progressed? (Joe Platania) "We're definitely on schedule with our installation. Everything that we want to get in is in, but [we're] also continuing to improve our execution, our timing and get to the point where we're not thinking out there – when we're just playing by reaction and by our understanding of what we're doing. Repetitions are really important, but yes, we're on schedule."
What have you seen out of G/C John Urschel's comfort level? (Brett Hyman) "Start with the fact that he rarely makes a mistake. He always has a hat in a hat, his fundamentals are almost always perfect, and he's also a pretty darn good athlete. Sometimes, maybe the math makes you think he's not a good athlete, but he combines the intellect with the athleticism. He's good. He's another guy battling for a left guard spot right now. He's also in the center mix. We have some interesting things going on right now with our team, and John is right in the middle of it."
John, it's impressive when you hear a player is getting his doctorate at MIT, but as a football coach, do you wonder if he's doing all of the other things, too? Obviously, going to MIT takes up a lot of time. (Jamison Hensley) "You do wonder. I wouldn't be strictly honest if I say it didn't cross my mind. You spend a lot of time on the math, buddy. *(laughter) *But with him, you learn not to concern yourself with that, because he takes care of business, and he's a football player first. He knows that that's his profession at this time in life. He's 100-percent committed to his football, and I'd say he's 100-percent committed to his math. As we said, life is not a pie chart. He commits himself to the things that are all important and does a great job of it. I have no concerns whatsoever about him not being prepared."
Offensive Line Coach Juan Castillo
How has T Ronnie Stanley progressed about a week into practice? (Jeff Zrebiec)"He is getting more comfortable. He's getting more comfortable with some of the techniques and fundamentals. Some of those things are a muscle memory deal, so the more you do it over and over, it kind of sticks with you, and you are able to apply it when you are actually playing."
G/T Marshal Yanda said that he is impressed with T Ronnie Stanley and how he has gone about things, not just on the field, but what he has done in meeting rooms. Is that what you have found, too? (Jeff Zrebiec)"He's really like Marshal [Yanda]. Marshal sets a great example for everyone in that room. [Stanley] is already a professional. The game is important to him; he studies. He is a smart kid, so he doesn't make the same mistakes twice. That is what is important, too. I think he loves the game, and he wants to do a good job for the Ravens."
You have coached a lot of guys in your career. Is Stanley as far along as a rookie … I'm not sure if you had this high of a pick or not, but is he as far along as anyone you have seen? (Garrett Downing) "I had [former Eagle] Shawn Andrews in the first round, [former Eagle] Tra Thomas in the first round, and [former Eagle] Jermaine Mayberry. I think, maybe, Ronnie might be the highest guy I've ever had, that I've drafted. I think the thing is that Ronnie is a good athlete. He's smart. He played at a good program. He is working his butt off, and I think the OTAs and what coach [John] Harbaugh does gives us a lot of time.* *When the special teams are working, that is usually 30 minutes before practice, Coach Harbaugh allows us to do the fundamental and technique work during that time. Not everybody does that, so it allows you to get that extra work with the players."
What are the challenges of potentially having a new left side of the offense? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Well, challenges – I think it is opportunity more than anything. If you remember a couple years ago, we had John Urschel, who was a fifth-round pick, and James Hurst, who was a college free agent, and they both started for us. We went to the playoffs and won a game and played well the second game. I think the thing that Coach Harbaugh allows us to do is that we are able to get a lot of reps, so when it is time to play games, they are prepared. We are excited."
Who do you see at the left guard position so far? (Ryan Mink)"We have some good competition. John [Urschel] is running with the first group right now, and he is doing a good job. But we also have Alex [Lewis], we have James [Hurst], and we have [De'Ondre] Wesley, and we have Vlad [Ducasse]. We will play the best five guys, basically. Right now we have a lot of good competition. It is a good problem to have."
G/T Alex Lewis has moved around a lot of different spots. What do you see from him so far? (Bo Smolka)"I will tell you this: Alex Lewis is going to be a starter in the NFL. I think he can start at guard one day, or he can even start at tackle. The thing for him is just [that] he is a young kid. Moving inside is a tough situation for him, so all we want to do is get him back outside a little bit, so he can feel comfortable with what he has been used to doing and get his confidence at something he is really good at."
What have you seen from G/C John Urschel? Where has he improved as a player? (Ryan Mink)"His strength, his consistency and his fundamentals. To be a good offensive lineman, everybody talks about what it takes – it's really consistency and fundamentals, being able to do the correct things at a high percentage. He is a percentage guy, so we say if he can do everything well at 90 percent, he is going to be a really good player. Right now, I would probably say – if I told him – I'd say he's at about 80 percent, as far as his technique being correct."
With how smart G/C John Urschel is … You kind of like a guy like that playing center I would imagine, because he reads things so well. (Ryan Mink)"I think when you talk about a guy being smart and intelligent, you like all those guys playing all the positions, not just a certain position. Those are the kind of guys we have. Ozzie [Newsome] and the scouting department do a great job of bringing those kids in. It makes it easier for us to coach."
Have you seen a change in his confidence after last year and playing in all those games?* (Jordan Schatz)*"Experience gives you confidence. He did a good job last year as a center. I think he showed everybody that he could be a starting center last year. The year before, he showed everybody he could be a starting guard. That is the good thing about that, but we have some competition going on."
Last year, T Rick Wagner never said a word about coming back from his Lisfranc injury. Is he pretty further along this year than he was at this time last year? (Jeff Zrebiec)"The thing that people don't know is he wasn't able to do leg work at all. Really, we weren't able to do … We went in to the first game, almost with Rick … He still was catching up. I think he is really excited and he did a lot of good work – leg work – this offseason. He is excited to have a good year, just like he did a couple years ago."
*How important is it to have G Marshal Yanda on this team – not only a veteran leader, but also one of the best players in the NFL? (Kyle Barber) "*I think more than anything is what he does … He sets the tone for our room. It is good for … We have a bunch of young kids, we have a bunch of third-year guys, second-year guys and first-year guys, and really what it does is he shows everybody how it is supposed to be done. He is a guy that studies tape; it is very important to him. There is no messing around in the meetings; it is strictly business."
We asked John Harbaugh about this. Usually when there is a little extracurricular activity after the play, it is an offensive lineman or defensive lineman involved. How do you balance the competitive juices and guys wanting to make impressions with not wanting to get anyone hurt? How do you react? Is it something you don't mind at times? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I think Coach [Harbaugh] talks about this. We want to have a physical offensive lineman that bullies people, and there is only one way to do that. It has to start in practice, and the thing that is important for us is we are trying to finish and get the last push. There is only one way to do that, and that is doing that in practice. I think what ends up happening is you end up having good periods. We saw a little bit of that today, and I think we saw that the other day in the early individual periods. Typically, what happens with offensive linemen is they are usually playing offensive line because people feel they aren't tough enough or athletic enough to play defensive lineman. What we found here throughout the years when you think about it, is an offensive lineman is bigger [and] he is stronger. So why shouldn't he be tougher than a defensive lineman or a linebacker? That is the way we look at it. That is what we are trying to do here, and Marshal [Yanda] sets the tone."
You sort of are right in the middle of that sometimes, in between plays and running out there and hollering. How much do you try and fire these guys up, and how much does that intensity fire you up? (Garrett Downing)"Your players are going to be like their coach. If the coach is intense, the players are going to be intense. You are their leader. You represent your players in everything that you do, so that is very important that I get in there and mix it up, because I'm asking them to mix it up. If I want them to work hard, I need to work hard. You lead by example."
G/C John Urschel
On where he feels he is in his progression:"I'm feeling good. We are over a week into camp, and [I'm] just trying to improve every day, work on my craft – both at left guard and center."
On what he has seen from rookie T Ronnie Stanley:"Ronnie is a good kid. I like him. He has got a lot of talent. [He's a] good football player, tough, quiet. He just wants to improve. He is always asking me questions, and I try to help him however I can. When I first got here, I remember A.Q. Shipley; he was another Penn Stater. I didn't know left and right [when I first got here]. He helped me every day, even though we were competing for the same spot. He ended up getting let go that year, and that is something I really took and really internalized. I think it is really important to help the young guys, regardless of who is competing with who and who."
On if the offensive line embraces the challenge of protecting QB Joe Flacco:"I think that is important. No. 5 [Flacco], he is our moneymaker. This is our leader. It is important to protect him, and he takes care of us."
On how his progression at center is coming and if there is a drop-off at center between him and C Jeremy Zuttah:"Jeremy is a good center, so I'm not going to go that far. I felt very comfortable at center last year. I feel like I made huge strides. When I got to play center in camp a little bit, it was a tiny bit rusty. The rust kicked off very quickly, and I can tell I'm a different center than I was from last year's training camp. Completely different."
On his mentality in this year's training camp, compared to last year:"It is completely the same. It is the same mentality I had my first year. The difference is I'm a better player. I'm more savvy. I get to work on finer things. I have a better understanding of what I'm good at and what I'm not. But at the end of the day, I come into camp trying to make the team, trying to feed my family and then trying to help this team win, however I can in whatever role that may be. My rookie year, that was just trying to make the team, trying to back-up and start when someone got hurt. Same thing last year. This year, I have the chance to play in a starting role, and I'm very much looking forward to that if I have the opportunity."
On what it would mean to be a starter:"That is a big thing – being a starter in the NFL. I had the chance to start 12 games in the NFL, and it's been a special thing – all 12 games. It is not something that everyone can do. You don't take that for granted."
On how he balanced the offseason with football and studying math at M.I.T.:"It is a lot easier than college. I did the same thing all through college. Granted, M.I.T. might have been a little harder than Penn State, but it wasn't too bad. I had enough time for football, enough time for math. It is something I've been doing for a long time."
On if he had to sacrifice anything else for football and math:"No, not really. I had a lot more free time than I did in college."
On if he is done studying math for the time being: "Yes. Math is done until hopefully mid-February."
DB/RS Lardarius Webb
*On if he is competing with S Eric Weddle by growing his beard: *"Yeah, man, I got a little start on him because he cut his off, but he came back. His is looking good, looking good."
On if his beard will ever grow longer than Weddle's: "Never. His is growing daily. Daily, it's growing." (laughter)
On building a relationship with Weddle in the backfield: "It's awesome. I'm learning so much from him. He's a great leader. He's our Joe Flacco on the defense. He keeps everything going. [He is an] awesome guy – awesome locker room guy. He's great in the meetings. I can't speak enough great things about the guy. [I'm] just happy to have him here to make us better. A lot of guys are feeding of off his energy. I'm bringing the same type of energy. I've been here, and the guys look up to me also. So to have both of us back on the back end is big for the defense – for the team."
On how beneficial it will be to have two smaller, faster guys in the backfield: "It's going to help a lot, but you can tell I'm the big safety. *(laughter) *It's going to help a lot. We want to get more athletic in the back end. A lot of teams are going with the athletic tight ends and throwing the ball to those guys, so we want to be able to cover them. We have to change it up. We want to be athletic and get more interceptions, and the way to do it is to get some fast guys in the back end."
On his transition to safety: "To me it was natural. I always played safety. I was a safety in college all my life. I never really played corner until I got to the NFL. To get back to my natural position, be able to read the quarterback and make some plays, I'm excited. To be able to do it still here with the Baltimore Ravens makes it even more interesting."
On if he has spoken to Ed Reed about switching to safety: "I talked to him earlier around Preakness time. I can't give him a head's up right now. I just keep in touch with him. We talk, and he's a great friend. He was a great role model. After Week 1, I'll probably hit him up a little bit more."
On how important his veteran off day is: "It's great. I've been waiting eight years for this day. (laughter) I used to see Ray Lewis and Ed Reed get these days and was like, 'I don't want to be old, but I want to get a day off.' (laughter) I feel good being able to rest a little bit and get back out there tomorrow."