*TRAINING CAMP: AUG. 15 PODIUM TRANSCRIPTS
Head Coach John Harbaugh, WR/RS Michael Campanaro, G/T James Hurst & S Tony Jefferson
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"OK, good to see everybody here. I notice that the media is all nice and dry here for some reason. (laughter) But, I saw you out there earlier, so that was good. It is good to have you guys here; I appreciate it – guys and gals. [It was] a good practice, a lot of fun. It was really good work for us to get out there in the rain. I told them once it was coming down, I said, 'Hey, the heavy stuff won't be coming down for quite a while yet!' (Reporter: 'Caddyshack!') "Caddyshack! Thank you, very good. Most of the guys didn't know that. Coaches knew it – [linebackers coach] [Don] Martindale knew it right away. We had fun, and you do get some good work throwing the wet footballs and catching snaps and those things. It is valuable. You get an opportunity to practice it, because it will come up at some point in time. It is worth staying out there and getting the work done, so it was very valuable for us."
The second preseason game, how big of an opportunity is it for some of the younger guys to show that they can be playmakers with some of the injuries and them stepping in? (Todd Karpovich)"Exactly right. It really is important. You are talking about the ability to stack performances, and you prove that it is not a one-time deal in a game. You can come back the next week and have success again, and then the [fourth] week and do it again. I think that is how you establish yourself as a guy that can win in this league. And going down to Miami, you are on the road for the first time with the young guys playing a very good team. It will probably be hot down there, I guess – either hot or raining, one of the two. Probably both. So, it will be good for us, and I am looking forward to seeing how those guys do."
One of the young guys who is probably going to make his debut is CB Marlon Humphrey. How excited are you to see him?* (Garrett Downing)*"Marlon Humphrey will get his first game as a Raven. It will be fun to see. He is back out practicing all this week, and he has had another good week of practice. Seeing the game reps will be a big step for him."
I understand you want your linemen to be versatile and injuries can't be helped, but how important do you think it is at this stage with a couple of preseason games left to have that offensive line really start building cohesion, as far as your vision of who that starting five will be? (Luke Jones)"It is always important, but you have to take circumstances as you get them. Sure, we would rather have them all set and working on their spots. And we would like to have three or four deep. We would like to have nine deep – nine guys that we knew were going to be there and working them in different spots, but that has not been the case. That is just the way it has worked out at that position. That has been the one position this year [where we have been injured]. Everywhere else, we have been in pretty good shape. Wideouts, we have held up pretty good; there have been a couple things. But, we have held up pretty well there. I think Breshad [Perriman] is the only long-term injury that we have had. Secondary, we have gotten guys back, defensive line has stayed healthy, running backs have stayed healthy. Tight ends, we lost those guys early, but we had some depth, and these guys have kind of settled in now. That is the one position that has been unsettled. Of course, the quarterback position … It goes to your point, with what you are saying – those two spots. That is the way it is. That is the way it is. We are just going to have to build everything around it, but you do benefit from the fact that guys are working different positions. There is an unintended benefit. That would be something you are trying to get guys to do. We have been forced to get guys to [work at other positions] – probably more than we would like. We will make it work, and in the end, it will be for good."
T Ronnie Stanley has missed three practices now. Is it anything serious? (Jamison Hensley) "No season-ending thing or anything like that. It is just part of the … It is just something he is working through. There are two or three guys like that, who are working through some things. I would like to get them back sooner rather than later, but we don't want to push them too much and just let them heal up a little bit. I would say it is camp stuff right now. I haven't received anything definitive on Ronnie from the trainers, so when we do, we will let you know, as far as when he is coming back."
Is there an update on WR Breshad Perriman? (Ed Lee) "Nothing has changed with Breshad. He is a long-term hamstring guy, in terms of when he did it. It is a pretty good hamstring [injury] he had, so he is working. He is making progress, everything is on schedule, and they are happy with the way he is progressing. That is what I know."
At this point, would you not expect to see WR Breshad Perriman in the preseason? (Luke Jones)"I do not want to rule him out, but I do not know. Like I said, you never know."
One guy who has been healthy is WR/RS Michael Campanaro. What have you seen from him so far in stacking practices, as you say?* (Bo Smolka)*"Michael has done a good job. You guys have seen it; he has looked good out there. And of course, he stayed healthy. We will knock on wood and fully expect him to continue to have a really good camp. He is in a fight. He is in a fight with some other good players at wide receiver, and we like that as coaches. We like to see our guys in competition and see who rises to the top."
OLB Tim Williams was disappointed in how he played in the first preseason game. I think "hesitant" was the word he used. Do you chalk that up to a rookie playing his first game and thinking more? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I don't do any psychological analysis on it. I just look at it for what it is. He didn't play as well as he wanted to play, and the fact that he is the first one to say that is good. That is what you want – you want guys to recognize it and get better. We will be looking for him to play better the next time out."
Have you liked what you have seen in practice from OLB Tim Williams? (Jeff Zrebiec)"For the most part. He is a young guy; he is developing. He has to work to do. The proof is in the pudding. You have to go out there and play well. I fully expect him to do that. He is working hard, he studies, and he is into everything we do. I expect him to go play really well."
Around the time of the second preseason game, a lot of time it is the end of training camp mode. Is that how you schedule things, or does it not really matter when training camp mode ends and you go into the next phase? (Jamison Hensley)"We don't really make a hard break with that anymore. That was kind of like when you went away for training camp. That was a designation of 'breaking camp,' so to speak. But even then, we came back and we had certain type of practice formats that we used once we got back here. We have a format this year. We have these practice protocols that we are working through. They change; they are different than they were a week ago, or even two weeks ago, consistently through, and they will change a little bit next week, too. I still consider us to be in training camp. As long as we are playing the preseason games, we are in training camp."
How much have you liked the battles portion of practice? It seems like something new you installed this year with one-on-one battles in front of the whole team. How has that paid off, and specifically, a good one was OLB Za'Darius Smith versus C Ryan Jensen. That was a highlight. (Ryan Mink)"That was a highlight, huh? For you guys?* (laughter) *That was a … It has been really good. The battles thing has been good. It has been something that has been around football for a long time, and I think we have done it this year more than we ever have before. It has been great. The fans have really enjoyed it. We have done it at the stadium and at Navy. It gives you a chance to watch one-on-one and evaluate guys in a setting where everybody is watching. It has been good. Yes, that one was a callout. Za'Darius [Smith] called [Ryan] Jensen out for pass rush, and so they went at it. It was a good battle."
S Tony Jefferson, what have you seen from him? What does he bring? (Matthew Paras)"Tony Jefferson has looked [like] everything we expected. Just plus, plus in every way. He plays really fast. He is smart; he has a great feel for the game. He is a leader, he is in here early and works hard. I really have been very impressed with Tony."
You guys have had good safeties in the past, obviously Ed Reed. Where does he kind of fall in leadership and taking over? Is there something to the Ravens' defense of having a good safety? (Matthew Paras) "It is really important in our defense to have good safeties. It is probably important in a lot of defenses, but in our defense, maybe more than others, because we do a lot of stuff. We are complex in what we do. We want to pressure people. We play multiple coverages. We have multiple fronts. We disguise a lot of what we do. Having smart players back there that really get the game is a big plus for us, and we are really blessed to have two between Tony and Eric. We have two guys that, to me, epitomize what you are talking about. It is something I am really excited about."
Is there anything specific that you are looking for out of the offense in the second preseason game? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, I am looking for points. In the end, there are a lot of things that go into that. We could run the list down in every position what we are looking for, but it would take too long, and I'm wet. (laughter) But, we need to get better. We need to solidify the offensive line. That is not going to happen yet this week, but it is an opportunity for young guys to go in there and play well. We want to be as precise as we can be with our passing game, and we want our backs to run hard. We want to protect the football. We want to play good solid football, and then we can build from there. We are going to be a little late, in terms of training camp, with our personnel being all together. We just recognize that. We build everything we can to that point, and then, at that point, we take it where it is at with the guys that get added in."
S Tony Jefferson
On what he can take away from the first preseason game: "It was electrifying being out there. Having fun out there with those guys – everyone was fired up. You felt the energy stepping out on the field. Obviously, [it's] something to build on. We didn't do everything perfect, but it was a good spot to build on. Like I was telling everyone, we have to get back to the basics and try to build off that."
On the secondary's chemistry:"It's a beautiful chemistry we have going on right now. Like I said, I'm excited, man. We have great coaches who are very intellectual with getting the process going on, keeping us grounded, and our whole thing right now is [to] keep building."
On his excitement toward the upcoming season: "It's going to be big-time. I hope we can play a little longer than we did in the first game. I kept asking 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh], 'Can we can go back in?' after we were done. But, we have to stay focused with the plan we have going on. I can't wait until we get to Miami [and] play against my best friend, Kenny Stills, over there. Hopefully I can get a good hit on him and get him ready for another time we play him on a Thursday."
On what the defense needs to improve upon: "We have a long way to go. That was just the first game, first preseason game. There's a lot to build off of and a lot of things we can fix to perfect what we're doing. When we go out there, we're just trying to be the best we can be each day. Get turnovers – we focus on getting turnovers a lot. That's one thing we have to do; we have to [win] the turnover battle each week. And, just take it week by week – let's not look ahead of what's going on, who's winning on other teams – just take it week by week. Whatever happens, happens. [We need to] just try to get a win each week, and you'll ultimately end up where you want to be."
On the last time he had to practice in the rain in Arizona:"It was either too hot or it was raining. We had a bubble – we used that a pretty good amount. Bruce [Arians] didn't like being hot or cold. At home, we played in a dome anyway. I kind of liked it. It gave you that football feel being out there in the rain and made me want to hit somebody. I had to remember we were just practicing, and I have to take care of our guys."
On if the Ravens organization is everything he thought it would be: "[It has] exceeded my expectations. That's what I tell everyone who asks me that, from everywhere. The PR staff – you guys are great – from the coaches to the equipment staff, to the trainers, I mean, I fell in love with this place, the [Inner] Harbor, [the] great food. You media guys (laughter) – you guys are awesome, too. I'm in love with it, man. I don't think I could have chosen a better spot. It's truly a blessing to be here, and that's why each day when I go out here, I try to take advantage of every opportunity that I have. We have an opportunity to do something special, and I just want to be a part of it."
On if he's excited for the Madden NFL 18 release and if he'll get a boost in player rating:"I'll be getting that Madden game a little early. I don't know if you guys saw my promo, using the uniforms – that helped. (laughter) I already know my rating – it's 88. It's solid. When I got in the game it was 67, so yes, I made some progress. I'm excited. I've already played with the Ravens on the game, and our defense is pretty solid."
On if his Madden rating is realistic: "No, I mean, my* *strength is a 64 on there. I don't know what they were looking at when they did that. The game updates the rosters as the weeks go on in the season, so hopefully I can apply some more strength during the regular football games."
WR/RS Michael Campanaro
On being healthy: "It feels great – just overcoming another injury, [to] be out here every day practicing and competing, competing well – feels great. I love being out there every day playing."
On the urgency of having a consistent front line: "I think so. I think each week in training camp, you want to see progression, just gearing up for Week 1. I definitely think we'll get some offensive linemen out there that didn't play last week. I know some receivers will be out there playing. So, [it's about] just getting the core group of guys out there playing. We want to go out and make some plays and put some points on the board."
On if he was surprised that he didn't take any returns during the preseason game:"That was just part of the plan going into the game. I don't really control that, but that was just kind of what we had [planned] going into the game."
On if he has clarity on his returns in the future: "No, not at all. I'm just going week to week."
On his view of the return competition: "I think coach Jerry [Rosburg, special teams coordinator/associate head coach] knows he can trust me back there – just fielding the ball and making plays. I definitely think we have a lot of returners on the roster, so I think he wants to see them get some live game reps. But, I'll definitely get my fair share in the upcoming weeks of these preseason games. I just want to be good back there, being sound back there, making the right decisions and reading the returns, and make a big play."
On his excitement about playing wide receiver: "Last year, coming back was great, getting in the mix, trying to bring a spark to the offense. This year, I'm just out there more in three-wide receiver sets. I think I have a lot to offer when it comes to that – and just being out there on offense, making plays in the passing game and running game, everything. [I'm] hoping I can bring a different dynamic to our offense."
On his frustrations of being a "local product" but being unable to perform due to injury: "It's been frustrating, but I'm out here playing every day now. I just look at it as the past few years, they've prepared me for this moment I have now and this opportunity that I have. I'm just taking it one day at a time and looking for a big year."
G/T James Hurst
On how crazy the past week has been while playing three different positions: "It's been a lot. We have a couple guys banged up; it's training camp, it happens. Those guys will get healthy, and we'll get them back out. Every practice you can go out there and work on things. Even though you're switching positions, there are commonalities between positions. So, if you just go out there, focus on your technique, you're going to pick up things, regardless of what position you're at. That's what I've been trying to do. We'll get healthy and get after it."
On if he prefers guard or tackle: "I'm one of those guys who just wants to be out on the field. I know that's not what you're looking for, but truly, I just want to play. We're going to put the best five guys out there, and we're going to be a unit and play together. Being an offensive lineman, that's what we're coached and that's instilled in us from the day we start playing that position. So, [when] you go out there, you just want to play and be a part of that unit."
On how shuffling players on the offensive line affects cohesion: "It does a little bit. Obviously, having different guys in there, communicating a bit differently, each guy is a little different. But, that's when you have to put in a little extra time in the meetings, after practice, talking to each other and watching film together. That way, you can work out little kinks. When it comes game time, it's second nature."
On if the shuffling has put more pressure on the preseason games:"Absolutely. You need to take advantage of every chance you get to go out and play – preseason or regular season. Just getting reps next to different guys, that helps build trust together as a unit, so if you go out there on a Sunday, you're comfortable and gelling together."
On how much he leans on G Marshal Yanda: "A ton. It's a huge blessing to have someone like that in the room – just being able to watch film with him, watch him out at practice [and] how he goes through his drills. Everything he does is like he's playing on Sunday. Having someone out there to look at, to talk to, to give you tips, and is able to watch you and coach you on the field, it's a great blessing."
On T Austin Howard: "He's doing a great job. He's a great guy. It was a great addition to our team. We're happy to have him in the room. He fits well with all the personalities that we have. Obviously, if you watch him out there, he's doing good locking people up. We're excited to have that protecting our quarterback."
On working with DT Brandon Williams and DT Michael Pierce: "It's a challenge, but the great thing about that challenge is that [when] you go out on Sunday, you've been blocking the best guys in practice. That's going to help build your confidence and really sharpen your technique so that on Sundays, you're not going out there like, 'Man, this competition is ramped up.'"
On how being an undrafted rookie helped him develop as a player: "I think [it was about] the confidence and knowing that it's football. Going out there and playing in big games as a rookie can be overwhelming. But, having that experience under your belt and knowing at the end of the day it's football [is beneficial]. You go out there, do your thing, you practice with the guys you have been practicing with and just be confident and comfortable out there, not worrying and wondering about a million different things."
On the momentum the offense gains during preseason games: "It's very important. We want to go out there and put up points. We've seen the things that we need to work on from the first game. We need to score more, obviously. Those early drives, we had great field position, but we didn't put points on the board – that's a big emphasis. If our defense is going to give us the ball at the minus-40 or 50-yard line, we need to get points. We know that, and that's what we've been working on. We're excited about an opportunity to go out and rectify that situation."
On G/C Matt Skura and G/T Jermaine Eluemunor: "They've done an incredible job. Jermaine, being a rookie, it's always a steep learning curve, but he's been paying attention to guys like Marshal [Yanda]. To pick up on things and to grow as fast as possible like that? Matt, I mean, he was on the practice squad last year and he came back in shape, stronger – bigger faster, stronger as they say. But really, he's made a huge leap for us, and we're excited to have a guy like that be able to play in there with us."
On how quickly T Ronnie Stanley needs to return so he can learn the left guard position:"I'm just telling Ronnie to come back every day. Every time I see him, I'm just like, 'Ronnie, go ahead and just go out there and practice today.' I know he's doing what he needs to do and vice versa. So, if he's not out there, and I'm asked to play left tackle, then that's what I'm going to do that day. I need to take as many reps as I can and get as good at left tackle as I can. The day he comes back, wherever I'll move to next, I'll take advantage of every single practice. I know that, and I know we're moving around a little bit right now. Every chance I get, I just have to take advantage of it and think about the things I can control."