Head Coach John Harbaugh
On TE Dennis Pitta: "We had the injury out there today. You saw it. Dennis [Pitta] has a dislocated hip. So, we'll have to take a look at that and see exactly what it is. It's a situation; it's a serious injury. He is going to be out for a while. He will not be in the Denver game. We will just have to play it from there to see how long it goes. I don't really have the numbers of the weeks right now, but we will just have to see, and we will know more tomorrow."
Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg
How much are you monitoring Jacoby [Jones] and his use with the first-team offense, and what type of impact does that have on your group? (Glenn Clark) "Training camp we aren't monitoring at all, because we have a separate special teams time, as you've seen out here. In special teams, everybody practices when we practice. We give everyone reps. Jacoby's situation with regard to his reps is no different than it was last year. The first-team reps on offense really don't make any difference to us in special teams, because we are practicing everybody on special teams."
*Is it a little bit different this year because there isn't a kicking competition going on? There's just one guy. (Garrett Downing) *"Yes, certainly. It is a little different only having one kicker. You have a lot more individual attention. Justin [Tucker] is handling it well. We've had good days so far. He's prepared well during the offseason. While it's been a while since we've only had one kicker or punter in camp, it's worked out well. I'm actually looking at it from a little different of a perspective. It's not that he doesn't have any competition; it's just that he gets a lot more attention."
Is it the plan to keep it just the two guys? I know earlier there had been talk about adding another one? (Garrett Downing)"As of right now, this is who we have. So, that's it."
Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell
How tough is it – scary – to see one of your top players go down, especially on the first play of a drill (Jeff Zrebiec) "Obviously, he [Dennis Pitta] has been a very, very productive guy for us. He's made a lot of big plays around here, and hopefully, we'll see … I know John [Harbaugh] announced his injury, but we'll see what happens and how long [he's out]. Somebody is going to have to step up, and we do have some capable guys all across the flanks. We do have some weapons, and we're just going to have to have some guys make some plays for us."
**Talk about the depth you have at receiver. I know you miss Anquan [Boldin], but it seems like you guys have a good group of guys to go around *(Jason Butt) *"Well, it's a great, competitive atmosphere – that's the good thing about it. We have guys that are really working extremely hard. They're really close in terms of their production and talent at this point. So, that's what makes camps interesting. We get a great look from our defense because of the fact that they give us so many things to be concerned about – so many different looks, different coverages. Our guys have to adjust and adapt. Besides that, they're facing good players every day, so it's a real challenge for our corps."
*In particular, Deonte [Thompson] – what improvement have you seen from him from the end of last year to this year, working out some with the first team offense. What kind of jump have you seen thus far this offseason? (Jason Butt) *"He [Deonte Thompson] has really made some improvements. And I think that's what you find [with] guys going into their second year. They have a little bit more familiarity with your system, [and] they start to play a little bit more relaxed. They still have a lot to learn, but he's making good progress."
What qualities are essential to play center in your offense? (Matt Vensel) "I think just like any [system], for the most part – particularly in this league. It's a very difficult position because of the fact that you have to be, obviously, a guy who understands defensive systems and looks. Literally, you have to echo and repeat what the quarterback says, just in terms of when he makes checks and things of that nature, for the offensive line. Sometimes, you have to certainly be the lead on that. So, you have to have a guy that has good football knowledge, which we do. Guys up front are very, very smart and very capable, so he's got to be versatile – got to be able to run block [and] got to be able to pass protect."
How different has this offseason been for you coming in as the coordinator? You've gotten to put your stamp on and been able to work with the guys – what's that process like? (Garrett Downing) "It's been a lot of fun, actually. I've been working with the guys. Our staff is a very, very good staff that has given me the opportunity to use them. They're very, very knowledgeable men. The workload has been like it's always been for this position. It's a daunting task, but a lot of fun, particularly if you have good people to work with. We've got a quarterback, we have receivers, [and] we have backs. We have a good group, so that makes it fun."
I know when you took over last year, you made some tweaks. Do you plan on making any other significant adjustments, or is it pretty much just fine-tuning? (Garrett Downing) "We're just trying to get better at what we do. That's the real thing. We are a team that, obviously, has had the ability to run the ball. We've had the ability, obviously, to throw it. And we certainly want to work on both areas. We may add a few things here or there, but not very much. We're going to be fairly close to where we've been and see if we can just get better. That's the key."
With Dennis out, someone has to step into the forefront. Ed Dickson is probably the primary person at that position to do so. What have you seen from him so far through the first couple weeks of training camp (Matt Zenitz) "Ed [Dickson] has been playing and performing extremely well. He's had a good camp thus far. He certainly ended up the spring in great shape. He's moving well, he's catching the ball for us, and he has a lot of big-play potential."
It's optimistic, especially since you have a capable backup to Dennis Pitta… (Matt Zenitz) "Obviously, those two guys were a very talented tandem to have. But Ed is a very capable guy, and I'm certain that … You can't go into a ball game with just one, so we're going to have to have some other guys step up as well."
**You used a lot of three-wide receiver sets last year – that's kind of a trend that's going on in the league. Why do you think so many teams are using those three-wide receiver sets more? *(Matt Vensel) *"Well, I think, for the most part, a lot of teams are facing big and powerful defenses. You have to be able to spread them out a little bit, give them concern about some of the pass game. I think a lot of teams are using them. This league is a passing league. When you look at the statistics, those things are going up because everybody is throwing the ball a little bit more. We use it sparingly, but we also use a lot of two-back [sets] as well."
**Do you see Billy Bajema being more involved in the passing game? *(Garrett Downing) *"Billy [Bajema] is a guy who can run and catch. He has ability, and he's been here with us and certainly has done a good job in-line blocking and things of that nature. But he's not a one-dimensional player."
RB Bernard Pierce has been looking bigger and more explosive from the end of last season. Have you seen something along the same lines? (Matt Zenitz)"Yes, and I'd echo the same thing when we talked about Deonte [Thompson]. Usually, guys that are in their second year, they really start to blossom, start to get a little bit better, start to have a better feel for the offense. But from a physical standpoint, too, they're not through maturing. That's the thing that I think most people don't realize, is the fact that these guys are still young and he's developing. He's got power and strength and speed, and he seems like he's getting faster every day."
It seems like the wide receivers have been pretty versatile. A lot of people are talking about who's going to be the No. 2 receiver, and you have a few different players playing in different situations depending what it is, correct? (Matt Vensel)"And that's valuable to us because of the fact that we try to be as flexible as we possibly can. You have to be flexible in this league, because you never know week to week exactly what you're going to face from an injury standpoint or anything of that nature. So, you better have a lot of guys that understand the system well and enough flexibility to move them around position to position."
Coach, how much do you rely on self-scouting, and do you work with defensive coordinator Dean Pees to get his input on what you guys are doing? (Kris Jones)"It's a lot of give and take with us. That's the beauty of it. I think I'm kind of repeating myself a little bit, but I think the great thing about it is the fact that we've had great defenses around here, and they do a* *little bit of everything. They give you all kinds of problems. So yeah, we do. They look at us and tell us what they think. We have an opportunity to work against one another, so we certainly see, because they're trying to stop us each and every day, and vice versa. So yes, there is a lot of cooperation and communication between our staffs."
What is the challenge of figuring out the proper amount of playing time for Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce? (Matt Zenitz)"Well, it's not a real challenge, to be honest with you. Ray is the bell cow, and he's been playing well for a number of years, and we expect him to continue to do so. So, we have an opportunity with Bernard to give [Ray] a break from time to time, and we'll do just that. We'll give him breaks from time to time, like we did last year, but I think there are certainly enough carries to go around for both guys."
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
**What have you seen from Jimmy Smith so far, just in terms of the improvement he's tried to make over the offseason until now? *(Aaron Wilson) *"I think he's in real good shape. I think he's done a good job in the offseason of getting himself in shape. I think he's gained some confidence from last year, basically, in the end of the season and the playoff games. I think he's trying to play with that confidence. He's got a long way to go; we're all trying to improve, get better. We're installing different stuff every day, so, every day is a new day. But from what I've seen so far, I've been pleased."
It got scrappy out there, usually that does happen with all the pads going on. Do you usually find that most of the guys kind of work it out amongst themselves and it doesn't keep happening play after play? (Aaron Wilson)"No, that's tough. I've been doing this for 41 years, and I've seen about 85 of them. It's just … That's part of football. Guys are in there tousling, fighting – guys are fighting for positions, you know? At this time of year, it's not like the 53-man squad has already been made. Guys are putting a little extra into it, and every team in camp today had one of those – or a couple."
What are your early impressions of Daryl Smith so far? (Jason Butt)"Daryl [Smith] is a very intelligent player. You can tell he's a veteran. He plays smooth. He's got heavy hands. He's a tough guy. I really love his personality – fits right in with our room. We've been very pleased, so far. Again, we've got a long ways to go. He's learning a new system. It's a lot different than what they [Jacksonville] played before, but he's working really hard at it. That's why he's a good pro."
How did Terrence Cody look early on coming back from an injury? (Garrett Downing)"All the guys up front – I'd say – there's great competition up front. Not only with Terrence Cody, with Brandon Williams, with all those guys up front. We've got a lot of new faces, and I think guys are really competing. I'm not trying to avoid the question; I just think that all of them right now are on an even keel, and they're all kind of fighting for that job."
Like you've said, you've been around 41 years, so you've seen the way things used to be. Even though player safety is a priority, sometimes do you wish things would go back to the way it used to be, two-a-days, more Spartan kind of conditions? (Joe Platania)"I don't know if you can get more Spartan conditioned. Really, the way we have kind of done this thing, I know the CBA [Collective Bargaining Agreement] did it, but you look at how we practice out there with the double-downs. We get two groups going at one time in three or four different periods, so that doubles the amount of snaps. You can talk about Spartan conditions; really, they haven't been that way for a long time. It was two-one-two for a long time. It's been a long time since it has been true two-a-days. That was 15 years ago. It used to be two-one-two, and then guys would get another day, and guys over 30 would get days off. I really think what we are doing right now is tougher than any camp that we've had prior to this."
On your staff, a little bit harder [with] no Ed Reed, no Ray Lewis – a lot of new faces … Is it a little bit harder on you this first year with this much turnover? (Bill West) "No, I wouldn't say it's harder. I think it's just the guys are digging in. The thing of it is in the classroom you have guys that … You just have to make sure you touch all the details. Maybe before with and Ed [Reed] or with Ray [Lewis] you might have been able to say something because he has done something 150 times, where now you have to be a little bit more detailed. Guys are working hard. Guys are trying to prepare hard. Both sides of the ball are very, very competitive. I think we have a great schedule here – a great system. No, I don't find it any harder."
You have a lot of talent, but a lot of new players. How much will training camp play into how quickly things will come together? (Clifton Brown) "It's not only training camp for a lot of the new players … The good thing about these guys [is] I think they are very professional. They were here for OTAs. They were here for minicamp. Being here for the offseason was really big. We had a lot of this stuff installed, and now they are getting it another time around. They are working, like I said. I think we have a bunch of guys that Ozzie [Newsome] and John [Harbaugh] and Steve [Bisciotti] and those guys have brought in here who are true professionals. I feel real good about them."
**With some of those new guys, does that allow you to be any more creative in terms of the packages to be put together? *(Garrett Downing) *"Time will tell. I don't think you can talk about being creative until you learn how to play base defense. We will see how everybody plays. We will see what everyone's talents are, and then as a staff, along with John [Harbaugh], we will sit down, and we will try to put them in the right spots and use their talents to the best of their ability. To see that we have to be creative, it's way too early. We have to learn just how to play base defense first."
How does it feel to have "Webby" [Lardarius Webb] back out there today? (Bill West) "It's great to have 'Webby' back. It's great to have them all back. It's great to see 'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs] out here at camp this year. It wasn't fun last year during training camp. [It is great] seeing his smiling face out here. It's great having all of them."
I know you said it's still early as far as Daryl [Smith]. Based on what you've seen and based on his track record, is he someone that you see being here? (Matt Zenitz) "I think he's a good, solid player. I don't want to put him up here too soon, or I don't want to put here down here too soon. I think he has a ways to go with learning the system, but the good thing about him is he's a great professional. He's great in the classroom, and I don't see why he shouldn't be able to move forward for us."
**You mentioned [Terrell] Suggs. How has he been the first couple of days? *(Matt Zenitz) *"I think 'Sizz' is 'Sizz.' I think he's been playing hard. I think there's great competition outside there along with him and Elvis [Dumervil] and Courtney [Upshaw] and Pernell [McPhee]. We have some young guys that are really playing well, too. 'T-Sizz' is playing hard and playing good. We have a long way to go. I don't think you can base anything on three days of training camp. We have a long, long way to go as a defense."