Ravens Training Camp Transcripts: Opening Practice

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: "Good to see everybody; thanks for coming. I took my hat off there, I normally don't, but it is a little big on me, I felt like. I don't know. How does it look? *(laughter) *Good for the first day. A couple of announcements here: Kenneth Dixon, he's going to be OK. He has just a little slight thing with the knee. He should be fine. Maybe even tomorrow, we'll see. Lorenzo Taliaferro, we put on PUP [Physically Unable to Perform list], so we'll see how he continues to progress with the foot. Not that there is a big issue with it, but he is not quite there yet, as far as practicing. We've got a couple new players: Dobson Collins, he still has to pass his conditioning test if he wants to practice for the Ravens. He hasn't done that. Kavell Conner came out and blew the conditioning test away, even though he had never heard about it before. So I would say that Kavell Conner is in great shape and was ready for his opportunity. Jerraud Powers still has to pass the conditioning test, as does Mike Wallace."

*Was WR Mike Wallace any closer today than yesterday? (Jerry Coleman) *"It doesn't matter. You pass it or you don't. You make it or you don't."

QB Joe Flacco was on the field with his teammates the first time. He said he wishes he could have thrown better, but it had to be nice to see him out there running around. (David Ginsburg) "Well, first day – all of the guys. We're certainly not ready for primetime. For the first day, it was a good start. They practiced fast; it was hot. They pushed through it, at the end of the practice they were still working really hard. You try to keep your technique together and your attention to detail together at the end of the practice, because that simulates the fourth quarter, and the fourth quarter is when you win games in this league. You have to make plays, and you can't shoot yourselves in the foot. That comes down to doing the fundamentals well when it counts the most at the end. We have a long way to go, but I believe we are on the right track."

What about specifically Joe [Flacco]? (David Ginsburg) "Same as Joe as it is for everybody; it's nice to see everybody out there."

In the position groupings, one of the players that really stood out was Anthony Levine with the linebackers. You mentioned the other day, I believe, the possibility of bringing a safety in the box. Is that what you are looking to do? (Kent McKusick)"Dean [Pees] made a big point in the meeting yesterday that every DB needs to know the dime spot. Every linebacker needs to know all the front defensive line positions, because that creates uncertainty for the offense and who lines up where and some of their assignments. We want to be a very versatile defense that way."

**What were your impressions of T Ronnie Stanley out there? *(Pete Gilbert) *"He seemed fine. I may have to watch the tape and see all the details of it, but I thought he did a good job. I didn't see anything glaring on the negative side, which is probably what you notice first. I did not see that with Ronnie, so he looked good."

*How did Ronnie look at the rookie show? (Jamison Hensley) *"Ronnie and the rookie show? It sounds like you guys got some information. *(laughter) *Did you get some information on the rookie show?"

He might have worn a chicken suit (Jamison Hensley)"There seems to be a number of costumes that have recently shown up at the Under Armour Performance Center [from] FedEx, but they don't seem to fit really well for some reason. I thought it fit really well, but then Ronnie told me that the bottoms were actually supposed to go down to his ankles, but they went just below his knees. So I'm not really sure, but the claws on the feet were spot on of a chicken. They looked just like a chicken. He did a great job of it. We have fun. We don't haze. We say that, 'The fun stops where respect or abuse begins.' Sometimes we have to define respect, but that was fun. He did a great job. He sang his song. He got the guys singing along with him and having a great time. It's nice when you are a first-round pick, effectively kind of the leader of the rookie class, [and the pick] is able to step up and make a statement about that. 'We'll have some fun, and I can fit in' kind of speak. He did a good job of that."

During the spring, a lot of the secondary guys were really anticipating how S Eric Weddle was going to fit in. Is that seamless to you? (Joe Platania)"He looks good back there, he does. It does seem seamless, with an 'a.' He looks like he knows what he is doing, like he has been playing for a long time, and he is a really smart football player. I would say he is as advertised that way, and it is good for us."

*What did you think of the atmosphere? *(Jeff Zrebiec) **"It is a great atmosphere. I love the tents. It feels like a turn of the century baseball game with the coverings on the tents and everything. The fans were great, the stands were full. The kids were over there having the time of their lives; you hear them right now still. Steve [Bisciotti] really wants training camp to be something that connects with the fans. Obviously, Steve connected with the [Baltimore] Colts, back in the day. I really do believe that was a big part of why he bought the Ravens, because he wanted to make sure that the Ravens were always going to connect with the fans, and especially the kids, in this area. That is what we are all about."

With S Eric Weddle and DB Lardarius Webb – transferring those guys back there – how do they interact? (Jake Lourim)"The two safeties interact very well. Eric is the more experienced player back there, as far as calling the defenses, so Lardarius defers. But Lardarius knows the defense well and is doing a good job of communicating. As far as the traditional notion of safety and having the box guy and the deep guy – there's something to that. If you have those types of guys, you're going to have to build your defense around those guys. But there is really something to be said about having two athletes back there that can move and make plays. We feel it is really important for us to have guys back there that can make plays on the ball."

TE Dennis Pitta caught the ball well today. How did he look to you? (Todd Karpovich)"I thought Dennis did well. He caught the ball well. One time we had an overzealous play where someone bumped into him, and he jumped right up. That was nice to see."

S Eric Weddle was talking to us about you talking to the team and your message was being, "All in," and it kind of resonated with them. Do you think with a season where you didn't meet your expectations, that ramps up a little bit? (Jamison Hensley)"It does. I felt like it is a growth process. We were 'all in' last year in so many ways. I know that it reflected in the way that we handled the adversity and it built a foundation for this season, as we've talked about before. There are degrees of things like that. Are you going to be great at what you do or are you going to be OK at what you do? We just talked about the difference a little bit. It is nice to hear that it resonated. They were pretty good stories; a couple good stories. [We] had a few laughs, but that is just the beginning. The first meeting for a coach in training camp is really great. For a coach, that is a big day. You look forward to addressing your team, to establish the thought process looking forward, how we are going to view this [training camp]. The players appreciate it, too, and look forward to it as well. If you can make it kind of funny, which Ronnie Stanley really helped with, that is good, too."

With a couple of veteran receivers not here as you mentioned – WR Mike Wallace, WR Steve Smith Sr. still – it seems like that is an opportunity for some of these tight ends. (Jason La Canfora)

"A really good observation. Our numbers at wide receiver are a little bit down, but we have two former wide receivers playing tight end. So we take Daniel [Brown] and [Darren] Waller and we move those guys out to wide receiver today and let them play wide receiver. You saw Darren Waller make a beautiful over-the-shoulder catch on a 'nine route,' so that is nice to have that flexibility, and that does speak to how we could build our offense moving forward."

Is everything ok with WR Kamar Aiken? He looked like he was walking (Jake Lourim)"The trainer said nothing to me about that."

RB Javorius "Buck" Allen

On his first training camp practice of the year:"It was great. To be back in football was great. That's what we work for the offseason, for just in case something like [RB Justin Forsett's injury last season] happens, we'll be able to pick up the step wherever the person left off at or help each other."

On what he wants to prove this season: "That I can be accountable in any situation; that you don't have to think twice about putting me out there no matter what the situation is; being that guy that can play first, second, third and fourth down. Whatever you need me to do, I'll do it."

On the competition at the running back position: "Starting with Justin [Forsett], a veteran guy. He's a workhorse. He comes out here and sets the tone, which everybody tries to match or go beyond. Terrance West is a great guy. He is a hometown guy who loves to work and go get after it. [Kenneth] Dixon is a rookie; he has something to prove. Me, going into my second year, I definitely have a whole lot to prove to you all. Trent [Richardson] is another vet – been in the game for a while. Lorenzo [Taliaferro] is a great guy, a special teams guy. He's going to match you every day. No matter what the situation is, he's going to match you."

On if he is trying to share the starting spot with Forsett: "All of us are trying to compete. Everybody wants to be the starter. Everybody in the room wants to be the starter. You're going to try to beat whoever is on top and whoever the man is behind you, you're going try to stay in front of him. That's my motive, and that show I'm taking it."

On if the team has a chip on its shoulder after a 5-11 season: "Most definitely. We have a lot to prove. Last year we didn't make the playoffs. [We need to] take every day like it's a championship game every game. Focus on that game, don't look ahead. That's what we're here to do, and I think we can get it done. I know we can get it done."

On how QB Joe Flacco looked in his first full practice since his injury: "Great – like he had never been out. He's an All-Star. He does his job right, and nobody questions it."

On how he keeps his skills sharp in the offseason: "Something I did was ask people from outside, a family member or close friend, 'What do you think I need to work on?' Me, personally, I know what I need to work on, but it's different from someone outside looking in. Just go in and make perfection. Work hard on whatever you want to be great at. If I'm good at catching, why go focus on catching? If I need to work on cutting, that's something I need to work on. That's what I did. Whatever I felt like I needed to work on, that's what I did."

On what people told him he needed to work on: "Just be more physical. Run like you're 220 [pounds], not 212 [pounds]. That's something I really took personal. Making that jump cut look clean, that's something I worked on. Only time will tell. I'm ready to have a great camp and get after it."

On if he has spoken to head coach John Harbaugh about increasing his production in Year Two: "Mentally, no one should have to tell me. You shouldn't have to make that jump and let them notice and tell you. That's my job to make a difference. Don't look like last year. Be 10 steps ahead of last year. I'm here to prove it and get after it." 

T Ronnie Stanley

On his first training camp practice:"It was good. I was happy to see all of the guys out here – all of the vets and the rookies together on one field. It was nice to see everyone just getting back into it."

On his mental approach to training camp: "I'm not trying to get too ahead of myself. I will take it one day at a time, living in the moment and just focus on what's important now, and just trying to get better one day at a time."

On what is important to him now: "Getting the plays and not making any mistakes on those, first of all. Using my coach's technique and really focusing on that – just doing a lot of repetition on that and really focusing in on the little stuff."

On how far ahead he is due to his work before training camp: "I think I'm in pretty good shape right now, where I am. Coming from the system I did [at Notre Dame] and the coach I did, it's very similar in the technique that we're doing and the combinations that we do, as well. I think I'm in a good position right now."

On if he is looking forward to OLB Terrell Suggs and OLB Elvis Dumervil returning to the field: "That will be the best competition out there. That will definitely get anyone ready for the season coming ahead. I'm definitely looking forward to it."

On how it was protecting QB Joe Flacco on the field today: "It was great. Protecting Joe, he's a very valuable man. We know how much worth he is to this team and how valued he is. It was great. He's a great leader. He stays calm and cool in the huddle and out on the field all together. He's just great to be around."

On if it feels any different knowing he is responsible for protecting Flacco: "I don't think so. In my eyes, he's one of the most valued players on this team, if not the most valued."

On wearing a chicken suit in the rookie talent show: "It was a little rookie talent show. I didn't actually know about the chicken suit until yesterday during the day. Steve Smith [Sr.] happened to do some shopping and ended up getting a suit that actually fit, so I couldn't use that excuse. I went up there, sung a song and did what I had to do."

On if he took the opportunity in the rookie talent show to be a leader for the rookie class: "I knew since I was going first, I definitely had to set the tone. That was definitely in my head. I couldn't just make even more a fool of myself after the chicken suit. I had to do something good. I think it turned out well."

On which rookie had the worst costume: "I'm the first one, so we still have to see throughout camp. It's someone different every day."

On what song he sang for the talent show: "'Ignition (Remix)' by R Kelly. I knew it was a crowd pleaser." (laughter)

On if he knows every word to the song: "I know every word to the song."

On if that was the first time he sang that song: "That was the song I picked, so I was practicing all throughout this break that we had."

On if that was his first time singing in a chicken suit: "That was the first time I sang in a chicken suit, correct."

S Eric Weddle

On how seamless the transition into Ravens training camp has been:"Gosh, I can't tell or express the excitement you have coming back. All of your hopes and dreams start right now – to have a chance at the ultimate goal: winning a Super Bowl. [It was a] great start. It's good to see '5' [QB Joe Flacco] out there slinging it around, giving us some looks. It was a little off going back to my days playing against him and all of the scouting. It was weird. Now he's my teammate, so hopefully I can pick him off a few times and get him right."

On what he wants to accomplish personally in training camp: "Just continue to build off what we started in OTAs – the camaraderie, the communication. We want to be a great defense, and it starts by all 11 playing together, all on the same page, all playing as one, knowing what to do, executing your assignment and playing together and being all in. Coach [John Harbaugh] had a great point last night: You're either with us or you're not, and if you're not, get out of the way. It's true. You have to be committed. I think everyone here is, and it's just exciting. It's exciting to see the commitment, the energy and the thoughts of what you want to get out of this season, and that's winning a lot of games."

On if it is too early to tell if he and DB Lardarius Webb have chemistry in the backfield:"No. We have been working extremely hard. The more we practice together, the more we get to feel what our communication will be – my looks, his looks and what I'm saying when I say different things. The biggest thing is no mental errors throughout the practice. We did that today. We were on the same page, just feeling each other – what we like to do and how we can work well together. Then you get Kendrick [Lewis] in there and you get Matt [Elam], the third safety. We're going to be a great group this year."

On if there is anything specific he has to explain to Webb in their first year playing together: "He's kind of just leaned on me more than anything. I've played with a lot of different partners over my years, so it's nothing new. I treat it the same. I'm going to do everything I can to help him – help whoever is playing with me. In the end, if we don't work on the same page and work together, then we're not going to be good. He's all in. He's got instincts and he can play the ball. It's going to be a great transition for him."

On his first time on the field with QB Joe Flacco as a teammate: "Just going back and forth, disguising and him getting his feet wet a little bit, and just getting back his confidence. He made some great throws today. One was to [Dennis] Pitta across the middle. It was just a great throw. Only great quarterbacks can make that throw. It's going to be great for us going against him every day, and also for him going against us. We'll get each other better and hopefully be the best."

On how Flacco looked for his first time back on the field: "He looked good. He seemed confident and wasn't back there hobbling around or stumbling or footwork was off. You couldn't tell he just had surgery in the offseason. It's definitely a positive sign."

On what it means for the team to see Flacco out on the field for the first day of training camp after an injury last season: "That he's done everything in his power to get ready and to have a great year. Obviously, last season, what he went through – what a lot of guys went through – to have him back and leading this team says a lot about his character, his toughness and why he's one of the best and why he's a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. He's got the 'it' factor, and it brings everyone else's level up."

On what stage of beard growth he is in now: "It's feeling good. I'm just letting it grow. It's a lot more full this time around, which is nice. I haven't been wearing a chin strap for the last three months. It's coming in even. We'll see where it goes. I might be sporadic and just cut it or I might let it grow. If we're winning, it's going to be there and be full."

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