*TRAINING CAMP: AUG. 8 PODIUM TRANSCRIPTS
Head Coach John Harbaugh, Senior Offensive Assistant/Tight Ends Coach Greg Roman & RB Javorius Allen
Head Coach John Harbaugh
**Do you have an update with T Austin Howard at all, with conditioning? *(Jerry Coleman) *"Just like I said yesterday – same answer as I said yesterday. [It's] in the trainer's hands."
Was that expected with him? Having the shoulder surgery? (Luke Jones)"I don't have any expectations for that kind of stuff. They try to do what's best for the players and the guys, in getting them ready to play, stuff like that. So, that's in their ballpark."
So you have no idea when he'll practice? (Jerry Coleman) "I don't have anything to add to it, really – at all."
You've said QB Ryan Mallett will play pretty extensively; you said that yesterday. What about the rest of your starters on Thursday? (Shawn Stepner) "We'll work it out as we go. We'll see. Some guys will play, some guys won't. [You] just have to play it by ear. We have a plan, but I'm just not really into it right now – as far as sharing it. It can change. It can change. We have a plan until the shooting starts; then plans change."
Talk about how difficult it is to simulate certain portions of special teams? How much do you look forward to being able evaluate young guys in those reps specifically? (Luke Jones)"That's a great point. We do a lot of very good drills, a lot of good realistic work, and we're really proud of the work we do. We expect it to carry it over to the game, but there's nothing like the game. That's where it's competitive, and for the young guys to get a taste of how hard it is and how good these special teams players are in this league, is a good experience for them – maybe an eye-opener for other guys. But, we've always had guys who jumped out and proven themselves in the preseason on special teams. It's going to be a big, big part of the evaluation for those guys."
*You guys went unbeaten last year in the preseason. How much do you think that helped you in the beginning of the year? Do you think it helped you get off to a pretty strong start? (Jerry Coleman) *"I think it helped us. It's always good to win and those kinds of things. We never do anything specifically to try to win the game, in terms of who we play. We don't play starters too much. We don't put guys back in the game. In fact, we usually play our guys less than other teams, but we want our guys to play to win, all 90 of them – or however many play."
**Last year when DE Bronson Kaufusi went down, you talked about the "silver lining," how you can get stronger. What do you see? Has he gotten stronger? Does he look a little bit better than he did last year? *(Jamison Hensley) *"I think he has. He's put an amazing amount of work in, in the weight room, in conditioning – the whole thing. I've never seen a guy work harder. He's an A-plus plus worker, and it showed up in the way he walks around and carries himself, his strength. He still has things to work on for sure; he's still a young guy. He's physically ready to go."
**When you look back at teams you've had, who were postseason contenders and some of the ones who fell just short, what would you say that the biggest difference between those two are? *(Jenny Vrentas) *"That's probably not a comparison question I would even think about answering, because it's just not the way you look at it. There are a lot of factors that go into it. Sometimes it's this much, sometimes it's that far. I just don't think it's that dramatic of a thing."
*You set the culture here. QB Joe Flacco was saying earlier about the standards of going out [on the field], how can you instill that in some of the young guys that there are standards here. *(Jenny Vrentas) *"That's a good point. That's really what you try to do, and we've made a strong effort to do that – to make sure that our young guys understand exactly what they are a part of and who we expect them to be, how we expect to play, and conduct ourselves and all that. A lot of that goes to the older guys, in terms of leadership. A lot of it goes to us, from me to the top, all through the coaches and everything else, to express it to them, to make sure they understand it and hold them to a standard. We don't have a lot of rules. We're not a *rule program; we're a standard program. We believe in a culture, which is a shared understanding of standards and values. We just try to make sure the guys understand what those standards are."
We know that QB Joe Flacco isn't going to go. Some of the other guys aren't going. Are there any other guys that you will officially rule out for Thursday night? (Jerry Coleman) "No, just like I said, I'm not really doing any of that. I don't have the list, so I might've missed somebody." (Reporter: "CB Marlon Humphrey.") "I don't know, I don't know. We'll see. I think I made it clear I'm not going to get into all that. So, you want to ask again?" (Reporter: "Well, not if you're not getting into it, but we just don't know what's wrong with Marlon.") *"It's really not that important for you to know, is it?" *(Reporter: "For a preseason game, I guess not.")
**Is there any update on the timetable for QB Joe Flacco's return? *(Jenny Vrentas) *"No. No updates."
RB Javorius Allen didn't play as much last year. What can he learn from that? (Matt Paras) "What can 'Buck' learn from what?" (Reporter: "From not playing as much last year. He said it was kind of out of his hands.") "Oh no, any guy should know it wasn't out of his hands. It's in his hands; it's in everybody's hands. If you're one of the best guys, you're going to play. It's special teams, it's running back … Anybody who didn't play last year didn't play because they didn't play well enough when they got their opportunity. My advice to the guys would be: You better play your best. You better be the best that you can be, first of all. I believe 'Buck' Allen, since you asked it [and] framed it around him, I think 'Buck' really does understand the point, because I talk to him every day about it. He knows that. He's worked really hard, and I really expect to see the best 'Buck' Allen that we can see. But, this is a competitive business. We put the best guys out there. The guys who play are the best guys out there; it's always been this way, and it always will be."
Staying aside from injuries for a moment, G/T Alex Lewis is obviously impacted by the acquisition of T Austin Howard. How big of a deal is that, from your perspective, to make sure Alex Lewis stays in the game? (Ken McKusick) "I guess I'm not following your question." (Reporter: "You acquired another tackle. Alex Lewis probably will be one of the candidates to move to right tackle, correct me if I'm wrong.") "This is too complicated of a question for me to comprehend at this time."
Senior Offensive Assistant/Tight Ends Coach Greg Roman
Opening statement:"Everything is good. I'm grinding through training camp; guys are working hard."
When you look at T Ronnie Stanley, who already established last season that he is a very promising young player, what specifically does he need to do to take the next step to be an elite tackle? (Childs Walker)"I think that is exactly what he has in mind every day. Joe [D'Alessandris] is doing a great job working with him, coaching him, and he definitely has embraced what he is teaching him. I think as an offensive lineman, the more you do it, the better you are going to get. There are so many looks defenses give you now, so Ronnie is really working on sharpening up his fundamentals and defensive recognition. To list one thing, I do not know if that is realistic. I think Ronnie is a good football player. He played well last year, and he is looking to really just sharpen all his tools."
How pleased are you with the way players have picked up the schemes you have brought in the running game? (Ryan Mink)"Well, we are putting our heads together on that as a staff, and I think it will adjust as we go. I think they are doing a remarkable job of picking it up. Really, I would classify this as a very, very smart group and a tough group, and you can do a lot with that combination."
What are your impressions of RB Javorius Allen and how he fits in this running scheme? (Garrett Downing)"We are a run-to-daylight offense, and I think he has good vision. He has a lot of talent, so I think we will be able to use him in a lot of different ways. He has definitely impressed, pretty much on a daily basis."
RB Terrance West said that Frank Gore was one of his idols the other day. Do you see any similarities? (Matt Paras) "I don't like comparing people. I think Frank is unique, and his body of work speaks for itself. I think Terrance is pretty hungry to develop his own body of work. That is what I think we are all looking for is guys that want to go out there and kind of leave a legacy at what they do. Terrance has done nothing but impress me as a running back, as a teammate – just as a member of the team."
TE Nick Boyle has said this training camp feels different knowing he is going to be available in Week 1. What about his approach shows you that? (Callie Caplan)"Nick is an attention-to-detail-oriented guy. Football is very important to him – just competing is very important to him. He wants to do everything exactly right, and he has gotten a lot of great experience this camp, working on a lot of different things. We really like Nick. Nick is kind of an old school tight end – big, strong, tight end that can move, and you can definitely leverage the defense with a guy like Nick."
How excited are you to see the scheme put to the test against an opponent rather than out here on the practice field and see it in action Thursday night? (Garrett Downing)"It is really exciting. It is not like we are going to try to reinvent the wheel and pull rabbits out of our hats as we move through training camp and the preseason. So, we are going to stay pretty basic, I would say, and just really give guys a chance to go out and execute basic fundamental things they have been working on all camp. We are going to go out there and play fast and furious. It is not so much a scheme evaluation. The preseason games are more of trying to get some cohesion in our unit. We are really, really excited. I know the guys are super excited about seeing a different jersey across from them than the ones they have been seeing."
RB Terrance West said he would love to have 30 carries a game. Do you get a sense that there is a greater commitment to running the ball? (Ed Lee)"I think that is going come down to Marty [Mornhinweg] and John [Harbaugh], and every game is different. I think there will be some games when that definitely happens. You just do not know how it will unfold. We want to be able to run it when we want to run it and when we need to run it. There is definitely a commitment to running the football here."
RB Javorius Allen
On his goal coming into the season:"To play more than I did last year. I said a couple of days ago that I feel like this is the toughest offseason – mentally – that I took myself through. I know it is going to pay off. I can say I hope, but I know the work that I put in, and I know it is going to show and pay off. I just have to translate it to the game."
On if he can pinpoint why he struggled last season:"It is just when you get that chance and opportunity, you just have to seize it and take advantage of it and don't look back. That is what I am here to do. Whatever it is, I feel like this offseason was the most I put myself through. I think I'm ready for whatever. Like I said, I just want to prove it and show it and not only show you guys who are at practice, but show the fans. That is what I have to do Thursday."
On what he put himself through this offseason: "I recently had a cousin that passed away. He is pretty much like my right hand man. He was there when I was training. Wherever I needed him to be, he made his way there. To lose him right before minicamp was pretty tough. Mentally, when you always have that one person that is never going to let you slip, it kind of brings the extra work up out of you. I know, for me, not having him there just made me want to push myself even harder, because I know if he was there he would push me. Just being that rock for my family … I think this year, I did a great job – me personally – of just being there for my family, even if [it means] me being strong or the person they come to for answers."
On how he fits into the new running schemes and the impact senior offensive assistant/tight ends coach Greg Roman has had:"I think I fit great. I think I'm running a lot better than I did last year; my feet feel quicker. It is just all about trusting it, and I love the scheme. [Greg Roman] is doing a great job. Coaches coach; players play. So, I'm here to play the game."
On what difference senior offensive assistant/tight ends coach Greg Roman brings to the running game: "Just the way he is coaching the offensive line, coaching the fullbacks and the tight ends. We all work together as one unit. Without the fullback, this won't get done; without the tight ends, this won't get done; without the left guard, this won't get done. It all is just coming together, and we are working as a unit and getting the job done. I have a great feeling about the run game."
On if he came into training camp at a lighter weight:"I came in around the same weight, pretty much – 219. Like I said, I worked on a lot of quickness and footwork. That is something I took pride on in this offseason and something I am ready to display."
On if he trained in California in the offseason: "I went out there for like a week, and then I finished the rest in Florida – Tampa, Florida."
On if he was surprised at how last season went given how much success he initially had as a rookie:"It is a business. I only control what I can control. I only control when I am out on the field. I can't control if I can go in or not. I let the coaches decide that. But, I can say that my work ethic this year is going to show and is going to prove that I deserve to be out there."