Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg
Has John Harbaugh changed at all since winning the Super Bowl in any way, shape or form? (Mike Preston)"Has he changed? (Reporter: "Still the same? Everything still pretty much the same around here?") *I see training camp as being very similar to the years past. The weather has been a little cooler, *(laughter) but other than that, we come out here and we go to work. Things need to be done properly, and there is a certain way that the Ravens practice. I've seen our older players now taking the role of monitoring how we practice and supporting the staff and the coaches on how we practice, with the young players. They're pushing our mode of practice to the young players. So, I don't think there has been a great deal of change going on with anyone during practice. I think it's very similar to what it was the last few years."
How about off the field? You're friends with him. (Mike Preston)"I think we all know John pretty well by now. He's gotten to be known around the building, around the community and around the country now with the success that he's had as a head coach. John's got a standard of behavior, and he's got a way that he deals with people that is, in my view, not necessarily unique, but certainly of high quality. He's doing the same things now that he's been doing since as long as I've known him. He's very personable, he communicates with people well, he enjoys people's company, he seeks friendships, he embraces others. And, that's the John Harbaugh I knew at Cincinnati in 1992, and that's the John Harbaugh I know today."
How rewarding is it for you as the special teams coach not only to see the two touchdowns, but the overall play of the unit in general? (Kris Jones)"We always like to score – that's very rewarding – particularly when you score in the fourth quarter and you're able to get the lead out of it. It was gratifying. I like the way our guys are practicing. We've been working a lot on fundamentals, and when you see the fundamentals come through in-game, it reinforces your work, and the light comes on a little bit. It's been fun, in all honesty. I look forward to more opportunities to cover kicks – we really didn't have any chances this last week – as Atlanta chose not to bring the ball out. Even though we had kickoff opportunities, we didn't have any opportunities to make tackles, to make plays, and that's what we're trying to do in the preseason. Hopefully, that will be different this week, and we'll have an opportunity to go down and see who can cover kicks."
At this point in camp, do you see guys getting a little bit desperate that may be on the roster bubble? (Kris Jones)"I think we've all been desperate since we got here. We're a desperate bunch. We're trying as hard as we can every day to get as good as we possibly can. The tempo of practice has been crisp all the way through. In OTAs and in football schools, in minicamps, it's been good. Now, I think just because the clock is ticking and the season is upon us, people think that now there is going to be a whole other level of preparation. This has been going on for a long time. Guys understand that it's not something you can kick in at the end and suddenly make an impression or suddenly become a player. Guys are doing that from the first day we showed up."
Coach Harbaugh was complimentary yesterday of Kyle Juszczyk and just how he has progressed on special teams. What is your perspective on the progress he has made? (Matt Zenitz)"Kyle is playing in all four special teams in the preseason. We use him very much like we use other running back/linebacker types, even though he's a fullback by trade. Because he can run well enough, he's able to play positions where we usually put linebackers or running back-type guys. The thing that Kyle possesses [and] that serves him well on special teams is he has some defensive skills; he's able to use his hands and get off blocks and as was represented in the tackle he made in the first game. He can run down the field and make a tackle in space. It's not unique to fullbacks, but there aren't that many fullbacks that can do that, and he's off to a good start."
Anthony Allen had a good season last year as a lead blocker on kickoff returns. Is that something Kyle Juszczyk can do or any other young players that can step up there? (Matt Vensel)"As you've probably noticed, [Juszczyk] is working at the position opposite Anthony Allen, so those two guys are very much interchangeable. They're both working on both skills, yes."
Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell
How good was it to see Ed Dickson back out on the field? (Aaron Wilson) "Well, it was good. Obviously, they are kind of bringing him along slowly, but it shows that he's making rapid improvement. We're certainly glad to get him out there and get him a little work."* *
What sets your guards apart from the average guards in the NFL? (Aaron Wilson) "I think Marshal [Yanda] has a great amount of experience. He's been around the block. He's a guy that's very, very physical on the interior, but he's also very, very experienced. He has been through the rounds where he can handle different types of pass rushers. He can handle different types of run stoppers on the inside. He has the strength and power to do so. 'K.O.' [Kelechi Osemele] is a young guy with unbelievable potential and is really starting to find his way in this league, because he's doing some very, very good things. [He's a] highly-physical guy who can run, can pull – he can do it all. He's very, very good in terms of his pass sets, but he has natural strength. He's got a little nastiness to him as well."* *
What do you expect to see from Brandon Stokley and Dallas Clark in this week's game? (Garrett Downing)"Hopefully we'll get them a few more snaps. They're coming along within the offense. 'Stoke' [Brandon Stokley] is learning his position. He's one of those guys who's been around the league awhile. Anytime that you've been in multiple systems, there's a lot of times that you can find something that you can correlate it with, so it does make learning easier. He's a smart guy anyways – he's a coach's son, so he's been around football a long time. Dallas [Clark] is also learning. He's getting a good feel for what we do. We've immersed him in it and tried to get as much out of him as we possibly can. Both guys, I think, you'll see their reps go up this week."* *
How do you feel the offense played against the Falcons? (Matt Vensel) "We didn't play well, because we were inconsistent. We just were up and down, and more often than not, when you look at things, it oftentimes is what you do to yourself. We're playing a very, very good team, but [we] also [had] costly penalties that set us back in certain situations, where you have to overcome a fairly decent amount of an issue because of that. [We had] play where we were sporadic. We'd have a good play, and then we'd have a poor play. So, we can't put all that together. I think our guys have been working hard to do so, both in the run game and the passing game. We have to get real precise, and I think that's forthcoming."* *
How has Joe Flacco meshed with the recent additions to the team?* (Tom Reed) "Some of the guys are young guys that are new [and] some of the guys are older guys – like [Brandon] Stokley and Dallas [Clark] – that he's getting a feel for. He's got his work cut out for him in that regard, but I think you can see them starting to blend and gel. Those last two periods we had today were pretty sharp with a number of different young guys that were taking part within the practice scheme also. It just takes work. I think you see him out there early throwing to Dallas, working with him on some different routes and things of that nature. He does the same thing with Stokley. Every time they pop up in one-on-ones you see him move over and take a couple of extra throws, because he's trying to get accustomed to not only those two, but also a lot of our young guys."* **
Do you have any real concern about the center position? (Bill West)"[I'm] not real concerned. Both guys are very, very tough [and] very heady guys that can play. This is a big guy's league. Nobody is going to dominate anybody completely in this game. Everybody is going to have a play or two here or there, but for the most part, those guys are going to be fine. [It's] a great competition, still."* *
Has Kyle Juszczyk's role changed since Vonta Leach has returned? (Garrett Downing) "It frees [Juszczyk] up not to do as much of the dirty work as he had to do before, because he had to do it all before Vonta got here. Now, Vonta is here and he takes a little bit of the load off of him in that aspect, but he's still a fullback. He's still got to block and those kinds of things. We've always had our sights on him doing some other things because of the fact that he is a multi-dimensional-type guy. He can run, he can catch, [and] he can block. He can play multiple positions. The personnel groupings that we put him in, they can vary. He's quite versatile."* *
How important is the third preseason game for the offense? (Ryan Mink) "I think it's very important just for us to play well, more so than anything else. Any unit that takes the field, we want them to go out there and be in sync, move the ball and put some points on the board. We're looking forward to that. In the third game, typically you end up playing a little bit more. It depends on what John [Harbaugh] wants to do in that regard. But, we want to see our effectiveness and our execution climb up a notch or two."* *
How has Kyle Juszczyk come along as a pass catcher? (Matt Zenitz)"It's encouraging because of the fact that it's what we saw that he was able to do before he came. He can catch the ball [and] he can run routes. He's a guy that you can put on the flanks or run out of the backfield. He's able to make a couple of big catches, like the one he had yesterday down the middle. He was out on the flank in the slot. So, we can move him around a great deal. We know he has good hands, but it just depends on how we utilize him. We're trying to incorporate him into what we do, and I think he's going to allow us to be pretty flexible with his responsibilities."* *
How quickly have Aaron Mellette and Marlon Brown progressed in recent weeks? (Luke Jones) "They're making progress – no question about it – but it also gives Joe [Flacco] a chance to work with them. Torrey [Smith] was out yesterday, so obviously, they had an opportunity to get in there a little bit more. [That] was great because of the fact that they get a chance to see what it's like with the first group – how it functions within that realm, the speed of it and those kinds of things. It's been great, and those two guys are eager. They're young, they have ability and they have to grow up fast."* *
Might you use a receiver by committee approach to filling the roles of the second and third wide receiver? (Clifton Brown)"Obviously, I think there are going to be some [guys] who separate themselves from the pack, and you're going to see Torrey [Smith] is going to be one of those guys. But, I think the fact that you're alluding to is [that] we have a lot of guys that have a lot of ability, and there could be a situation where we're using quite a few guys at the wide receiver position, which I think is a plus for us because it helps us mix up personnel packages. It gives us … You saw us out there with four-wide a couple times. We do have some versatility because we have a number of guys who can play multiple positions."* *
Just as far as that No. 2 role, it seems like Jacoby [Jones] and Tandon [Doss] are the two primary guys at this point. What have you seen from them over the course of the summer, and what is the level of confidence in them at this point? (Matt Zenitz)"The first part of that statement was yours, not mine. (laughter) *But, nevertheless, both guys are doing well. They're working at it, they're playing hard and they're … I think you're seeing Jacoby [Jones] do what he does best. He can stretch the field. He can open it up for you. He can run by guys. Obviously, Tandon [Doss] has been doing a great job just in terms of getting himself in a position to get open. We have him on the inside most of the time, playing the slot position, and he's been good for us in that regard. Both guys are doing well. They're scratching because it's competitive out there."* **
How much progression have you seen from Torrey [Smith] just from the end of last year when he took over to where he is now? (Ryan Mink)"It's not surprising [that] he's getting better all the time, and it's not surprising because of his attitude. He's got an unbelievable attitude. The guy loves to perform, and every single day he walks on that practice field, he's humble, he listens, and he's always asking questions. He's always trying to find a way to get a little bit better at everything that he does. The progress that he's making has a lot to do with the great attitude that he has. And he has God-given ability."* *
Have you sensed any difference with Joe [Flacco] after coming back and winning the Super Bowl? There was just so much talk about whether he could get to that level and win. Is he any different than a year ago? (Tom Reed)"I don't sense that. I still see a hungry, determined, dedicated, disciplined guy that loves to play the game and who tries to find a way every single day to get a little bit better. He's one of those guys who studies film [and] knows what he's looking at. He's getting a great feel for a wider scope of things, within the context of our offense, that he's just grown and developed within it that I see him just kind of take hold of it a little firmer. And you can probably hear him out there – a little more direct – and he's making good progress. The things that I do see since that time – it's more dedication, more focus. He just keeps, day after day after day, getting better."* *
How much of a mainstay was he in the offseason. He signs a big deal, and I'm sure he's in there every day like he always is, putting in work and putting in time in the offseason? (Matt Vensel)"His schedule didn't change in that regard. He's done the same things he's always done. When he's here, he works extremely hard and does a great job. He loves to study film, loves to be around the guys. This is a great environment for him, but I think, oftentimes, people expect these guys to change. The fact of the matter is they don't. As a matter of fact, they get hungrier as time goes on. I think, when you look at him, he's done some great things over the last five years, and I think he's even going to be better as time goes on."
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
Coach, could you talk about some of the problems, specifically on your defensive line, against the Falcons? (Mike Preston) *"Well, the biggest thing is we had some technique errors and didn't play the run particularly well. [We] just kept getting bled in there. The positive side was the secondary tackled well. The negative side is the secondary had to tackle. The biggest thing was just from technique errors. It seemed like every time at the point of attack, we had a guy just leverage … For example, we had a guy that had a great lockout and knocked back on the guy that he was on. He's got to stay with his head on the inside, the 'backer goes to scrape him, [and] at the last second, he jumps off to go make a play, and now the ball cuts inside. It's just a matter of everybody – when we're watching the film – everybody's just got to do their job and let the defense and the structure and the scheme take care of itself. You want to make plays, and at some point in time, you've got to get off the block, but you've got to know when to do it. That's where we got hurt, I thought, last week and didn't play particularly well." *
So on gameday, how many tackles or defensive lineman can you usually use or have in the rotation? (Mike Preston)"Well, it depends on whether it's a big sub game or whether it's going to be a big Raven game with regular … Usually, I think the most – I don't know if we've ever had six or not – most of the time, it's five defensive lineman that are usually active for a game."* *
How versatile is this group in giving you flexibility to move guys around? (Mike Preston)"Very flexible. In fact, we tried, and that was one where we kind of experimented a little bit, and we've got to make a decision on whether we want to stay with it. Normally in the past, what we've done is really just 'techniqued' everybody. You're a three-technique, this guy's a five-technique, [and] this guy's the nose. A lot of times when you get a trade or a shift in a formation, that five-technique has got to run to the other side or whatever. And what we tried to do was kind of slide things and see if guys could really catch on to where we didn't have to do that – where we could just kind of play more right and left. For example, Chris Canty could start out as a five-technique to the tight end, and if something happens where he moves, he could end up being the three-technique. We haven't really done a whole lot of that in the past. We're trying to do that now when we can experiment with it, see if it works, and there are some things that we can do. And if that will work, there are some things we can do to help that way. If it doesn't, then we'll play it like we've always played it. But, I think we've got some versatility there. The biggest thing with that [is that] the film is never as good as you think. You're never as good as you think you are, and you're never as bad as you think you are. So, I come out of that game not feeling very good about the run, but with all things that we can correct. We've got to play it better. We've got to coach it better. We just have to do a good job with our leverage and playing the scheme. When you jump off a block and another guy is outside, that's when you get gashed, and you give up a big one."* *
How about the secondary – giving up some stuff in the secondary? (Bill West)"Well, the biggest thing there – the thing that's hurt us two weeks in a row – has been penalties. We've just got to do a better job of playing the ball in the air, especially if we're going to play a lot of man coverage. We've got to know when to look for the ball [and] when not to look for the ball. Some of that is to just keep practicing [and] getting better."* *
Do you get a sense of where you guys are, or is it too early to tell, with some of the new leaders of the team? You obviously lost some leadership with Ed [Reed] and Ray [Lewis]. Are guys stepping up? (Tom Reed)"Absolutely. We brought in some good veterans in Chris Canty, Daryl Smith and Elvis Dumervil – all those guys. Some of the younger guys – Josh Bynes is stepping up, Courtney Upshaw is stepping up – all those guys. It's a little different. It's just different. It's different like in any organization when you lose guys that have been there for so long that they kind of assume those roles. I think everybody else kind of sat back and just said, 'Well, that's really kind of not my role. That's kind of Ed [Reed] and Ray's [Lewis] role.' Well, now those guys are stepping up, and I don't think it's any one particular guy who's saying, 'OK, I'm going to be the new Ray Lewis.' It's just a bunch of guys collectively stepping up and showing some leadership."* *
With Jimmy Smith, sometimes it's easy to look at the cornerback when he gets beat for a touchdown and say it was him – he was the guy who got beat. Is it more complicated than just looking at that? Are there more things going on in those plays? (Garrett Downing)"It depends on the coverage. There certainly has been some times when the guys get blamed for something on a coverage that may not be theirs. But for the most part, if the ball is deep and there are two guys there, it's him. I don't know what else to say. (laughter) *That's his dude. That's part of living on the edge and playing defensive back. Look, there's not a defensive back in the Hall of Fame that hasn't gotten beat – none. Let's be realistic. Everybody gets caught up in this stuff. It's how you learn. Probably every good defense I've ever called is because I screwed up some other defense. That's called experience – that's learning. Jimmy [Smith] is still a young guy – he's still learning. Chykie [Brown] – all those guys are. 'Webby' [Lardarius Webb] is probably a little more veteran, but it's not like he's an old man back there. Those guys have just got to keep playing [and] keep seeing it all the time. The biggest thing that makes a difference playing back there is you've got to have a short memory. If something happens to you, don't let it happen again. If you hang your head and feel bad and sorry for yourself … It's just like sometimes these guys, too, you'll see on film, some guy will get beat, and the first thing the defensive back does is turn around and does this *(Pees raises his arms with his palms up) *to the safety. It wasn't the safety – it was him. *(laughter) *He's just trying to throw the load off on somebody else. Generally, if they do that, it's their fault if you see them do that. But to me, it's a fun place to play. It's a fun place to coach because you're living on the edge all the time, and it's exciting."* **
Jimmy [Smith] as a whole this summer – combining the training camp and preseason – how has he looked as a whole? (Matt Zenitz)"I think he's looked really good. I think he's done a great job. I don't think he played particularly good the other night, and I think he tried … He's got a technique [that] he's got to use, and he didn't use it the other night. He's got a distinct advantage in a way that he can play, and he didn't necessarily play that way last week, and I think he will [this week]. And I think he'll learn from that. Like I say, that's what preseason is all about, [and] that's what playing is all about – learning what you can do best and then get better at that. You certainly work on things that you're weak at. At corner and defensive back and you're playing a lot of man coverage … Everybody plays it a little different – Asante Samuel, Champ Bailey – every guy is a little different, but they all find their way to do it and get it done and do it well. I think Jimmy is on his way to doing that."* *
How have the inside linebackers done for you so far this preseason, particularly Daryl Smith? (Aaron Wilson)"Daryl [Smith] has made a very good transition here. I think he's caught on to our scheme very well. I think he's assumed a … He's kind of a quiet guy, but [he has] assumed a leadership role. [He's] doing a great job. The guy is a smooth player – I don't know how else to put it [or] what adjective to put on him. The guy's got heavy hands – he's a thumper – and I think he plays very smoothly. You don't see a lot of … That's the problem right now with some of our inside 'backers and our young guys is they're 100 miles an hour. Unfortunately, sometimes you don't want to be 100 miles an hour. So, they overrun plays, and you get a cutback lane. That was some of the things in defense, too, where the guys were either not on leverage or those guys were overrunning the play. They'll learn [that] it isn't how fast you run – it's how fast you get to the ball. You need to be able to tempo that stuff, and Daryl knows that as a veteran. Jameel McClain knew that as a veteran. Some of these other guys don't quite know that, with these young guys, and they're overrunning the ball too much."* *
What did [Paul] Kruger mean to your defense, and how are the guys who have come in, like [Courtney] Upshaw and [Elvis] Dumervil? (Tom Reed)"I won't talk about Paul [Kruger]. Paul is on another team. I'm not going to talk about anybody who is not playing for us and what he did for us. He was a good player for us. But right now, I'd say [Courtney] Upshaw … I feel really good about the four guys that we've got outside there. I think we've got some depth at 'outside backer. I think all four of them can contribute in the pass rush in some way, with Elvis [Dumervil], with 'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs], with Courtney [Upshaw] and with [Pernell] McPhee. So, I feel good about all four of those guys."* *
How tight is that strong safety competition right now? It seems like both of those guys are making plays and making tackles. (Aaron Wilson)"I thought one of the positives coming out of the other night was the way the secondary tackled. I know Michael Huff missed one in the flat – he got out-leveraged and missed a tackle – but other than that, we really cupped the ball and did pretty well. No. 26 – [Matt] Elam – is a good tackler. He's still learning his way, just as they all are. Michael Huff is, too. I know he's a veteran, and he's a little more seasoned and stuff, but it's the same way. Those guys are still getting used to the system. The first game, I threw very little at them. Last game, I threw a little more, and it's just going to keep being a little bit more. So, we just have to keep force-feeding it and see where we are and figure out what we can do and what we can't do."* *
John [Harbaugh] said yesterday that Josh Bynes is the starter at this point at the Will [linebacker] and that Josh has earned the position. What has he done to earn it from your perspective? (Matt Zenitz)"[He's] played hard and done the right things, communicated and just played well. He just outplayed the other guys. Period."* *
I know you guys have talked about Chykie [Brown] before and the improvements he's made over the past couple years. How much have you seen Josh improve, not only over the course of the last couple years, but just in this last year? (Matt Zenitz)"[Josh] Bynes, you're talking about? A lot. This guy had a broken back a year ago and came back and played. He studies. The guy does a great job of studying. He's a good, young player that's really into it. I think he's playing very well."