Ravens Transcripts: Sunday Training Camp Practice

Head Coach John Harbaugh

 

Opening statement: "Good to see you guys here. A couple announcements: Tommy Streeter went off with heat, Kyle Juszczyk had his foot stepped on, and Daryl Smith stretched his groin a little bit. He's fine. So, nothing major in practice today. Dennis [Pitta] is resting comfortably now at the hospital. He had the surgery last night, which was basically to just put the hip back in place. There was a little fragment that didn't allow them to put the hip back in place without doing that, so that's why they had to go in and do that. We're in the process of getting the MRI now. We know it's a dislocated hip. That's really all we know at this point. We don't know the extent of any other damage, which obviously, will determine a lot – if there's other damage there. So, we're waiting for the results of the MRI at this time. Practice was good – spirited coming out. It was a good, physical practice."

What are your baseline expectations for Visanthe [Shiancoe]? (Joe Platania) "Thank you. Yes, we signed Visanthe Shiancoe, and we're very excited to have him here. We played against him a number of times – Philly versus New York Giants, and of course Minnesota we played him a few years back. [He's] a real talented pass-receiving tight end. [He's] a good, tough blocker. You can see he's in great shape. One of the things that we were really impressed about him is how fit he was. He blew away the conditioning test, and he blew away his workout. He really looks good. He's very excited to be here. He's from down in Bowie. He's a Morgan State guy. He's been in the league a long time. He's had a great career – many awards – so we're excited to have him on board."

He was really effective in the red zone for Minnesota a few years ago. Is that something that you're hoping might be the same for you? (Clifton Brown) "Absolutely. The red zone is going to be critical for your big receivers. He and Ed [Dickson] and the other tight ends are going to be hugely important down there, and that's something he's done well."

The focus kind of turns to the other tight ends, but is Kyle Juszczyk a guy who could fill that role? (Garrett Downing) "The thing about Kyle [Juszczyk is] he's very, very versatile. He plays the fullback, but he plays I would say more the H-back-type tight end role. So, he's your move guy. He's not going to be your guy on the line of scrimmage knocking anybody off the ball – he's 250 pounds. But he's your move guy, he can kick out, he can get up on the linebacker or defensive back, and he can catch passes. Kyle did really well. As a fullback, I thought the last few days he did a really good job. He was smashing up in there. His forehead is all scraped up. You'll see him in the locker room – his neck is all scraped up. But he had a lot of great collisions in there. Technique-wise, he's got to learn to set his base a little more, and roll his hips a little bit better. That's something you learn at that position. Even Vonta [Leach] told me that was the hardest thing for him to learn early on. But he's big, he's athletic, and he's very willing."

**At the center competition, what do you need to see from one of those guys to differentiate themselves and pull ahead? Is there anything you're looking for? *(Matt Vensel) *"It's hard to pinpoint the one thing because you are looking for something. You're looking for the difference. What makes one guy set himself apart from another guy? They're both playing really well right now. They're both very similar. They're very athletic. They're very quick. They're very smart centers. They've all gotten us in the right protection. They've gotten the run calls made correctly – so far, almost 100 percent the whole camp. So, it's going to be a great battle."

In terms of Gino [Gradkowski], have you seen a physical transformation over the past year? (Matt Vensel) "Gino [Gradkowski] has done a great job. He's always had a really strong lower body. He's been a good bender with great feet. He's taken a year in the weight room with [strength and conditioning coach] Bob [Rogucki] and [assistant strength and conditioning coach] Juney [Barnett] and those guys, and he gets after it every day. I can't give you the percentage points. Later, I can give you the number, because we know the percentage [of how much] stronger he is than when he got here. He's a lot stronger than he was."

**Does Bryant McKinnie look better each day? Is he starting to pick up the pace? *(Aaron Wilson) *"Bryant [McKinnie] looks better every day. He made it through most [of] the whole practice today. I think [run game coordinator] Juan [Castillo] pulled him out a couple times to give him a break, but there was almost normal rotation with the other guys. He's moving really well. The thing I like – and I've said this before – he's in good shape. He's in very good shape. He's moving around really well. He looks quick to me. Now, you take that weight off, and he's going to be that much better. That's what we're looking for. We want to run our offense a certain way. We want to be fast, and we want to be aggressive, and we need all of our guys to be able to move the right way. We want Bryant at his best, and he wants that, too."

Just to be clear – there's no timeframe whatsoever on Pitta? Anything that anybody says on Pitta would be premature? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I'm not saying that. He [Dennis Pitta] is out for the year. Dennis is out for the year. It's the type of thing that he's not going to be able to come back from this year. There's enough damage in there to preclude that."

I don't want to sound gloom and doom, but is this something that can stay with him, or are you guys pretty confident that this is an injury he can bounce back from? (Jeff Zrebiec) "It would be really, really rare if it was something that he couldn't be back next year on. So, I can't give you a final determination because we're waiting for the MRI, but there's been no word of anything like that."

Is there a chance he could be designated for return, or do you not know? (Matt Vensel) "I would say no at this point. He's out for the year."

 

 

Linebackers Coach Ted Monachino

How do you like your linebackers' room with all the different guys so far? (Joe Platania)"Well, the beauty of our room is we've got a great mix of a bunch of veteran players with a lot of experience that have had great success in the league, and a group of young guys that are building a career, and then a group of rookies that are willing to learn and willing to work. And [they are] physical and tough, just like we like them. So, the room has been great. All of them have a very high football IQ, and they love to play and practice. So yeah, it's been a really good first four days."

You've been around Terrell Suggs as long as anybody. Can you speak to his transformation, and is this a different Suggs than you've seen in the past? (Jeff Zrebiec)"It's a different Suggs than I've seen in the last four seasons. It's a similar Suggs to the one I saw as a 19-year-old kid. He is completely involved; he can't get enough football right now. He loves the work, he loves the leadership role he's taken on, and so, all of that put together makes him practice and prepare and approach his business the way that an 11-year pro should. I think that Terrell is on an all-time high right now in a lot of areas in his life."

How is Suggs looking physically? (Matt Zenitz) "I think when he walks through the doorway you can see that there's a change. The beauty of it is that he's been able to change his body, but not necessarily his body weight. I think he looks great and he feels great, and a lot of things that go into playing this position require that. He feels fast, he feels flexible and he feels strong. And if he can feel that way for a long time, he's going to have another great year."

How would you assess the transition for the inside linebackers? (Jerry Coleman)"That group right now, you can basically clump a lot of them together, and they're all fighting their tails off for two or three spots. Whether it's a spot on early downs or a spot in the sub packages, the competition is high all the way from our oldest veteran in Daryl [Smith] and all the way down through our new rookie in Arthur Brown. So, it's a very good room."

Do you like what you're seeing from that mix of guys? (Matt Zenitz)"Obviously, we love our guys. It's been a great addition to have Daryl Smith in the room. He's a veteran presence, he's a guy that the game has slowed down for already, so he sees it a little differently than a lot of the other guys might. It's been really good. They've meshed really well together. The chemistry is good in there right now. We've just got to be able to bring that enthusiasm from the meeting room out onto the practice field. But it's going really well in Wink's [inside linebackers coach Don Martindale] room, too."

How does Daryl Smith look physically to you? (Clifton Brown) "I think Daryl looks as good as he looked five years ago when I was with him there in Jacksonville. He is explosive, strong, fast and extremely football intelligent. So, I think Daryl looks great. He's ahead of the game – a lot like a linebacker we had here for a long time."  

How has Pernell McPhee made the switch: (Garrett Downing)"Pernell is making the switch. I think that you can put Pernell in the same category that you had Courtney [Upshaw] in a year ago. It's a different sport compared to what Pernell has made in the past. Every time he sees a new route combination, it's the first time he's seen it. So, his progress is he's making a quantum leap nearly every day. His understanding of the coverage part of it is growing every day, and you can't deny that he's a physical presence on the edge of the run game. So, I think that transition is going just fine."

What did you see from McPhee that made you want to move him from a pretty good interior rusher to an outside guy? (Matt Vensel)"Well, I think from a role standpoint, I'm not sure how that all is going to shake out at the end of training camp. He may still do some of that, simply because he is still a big man that has some skill in there rushing the passer. That thing happens fast inside, and it takes a special guy to go in there and do well. What you see with Pernell is you see a guy that loves to work at his craft. He is a sponge with the learning. [I am] just thrilled to have him over there in our group."

 

DE Chris Canty

 

On playing in Baltimore: "It's pretty exciting having an opportunity to come back here and play in this region. I played my college ball down the road at UVA [University of Virginia], so it's just definitely exciting to be back in this area and playing football for the defending World Champions."

On the defensive line: "It's still early. It's still early. We have an opportunity to work together. We have had a couple of padded practices here now. It's kind of shaping up. It's becoming clear. We have a good group of guys. We have a lot of weapons; it's just a matter of us understanding how we can all work together to accomplish our given tasks in given situations. I think that's going to be important for us early in training camp and moving forward. We have to develop those roles in our room."                                                       

On what he sees his role being on the defense:"I see myself as a jack of all trades – just being able to fit in wherever needed. I have a unique skill set. I've played inside, I've played outside, I've played 3-4 and I've played 4-3. So, I'm very familiar with multiple front systems. I think that experience is going to bode well for me and for this unit moving forward."

On if a versatile role appeals to him: "Yes, yes. I like to move around a lot. It gives offensive linemen a little bit of trouble in different looks when you're lining up in different places. That's going to be exciting."

On what he thinks about the defensive line so far in training camp: "I tell you it's as good as any defensive line I have ever been a part of – it has the potential to be. We just have to continue to work. We have to stack days. We have to take one day at a time. I'm excited about the potential of this group. Everybody in that room is. We are looking forward to coming out here and improving each day."

On what makes him so excited:"It's just because we have so many different guys that can do different things. And, if we put it all together, it can be something that is really special. It can be something that is really dominant. When you see that potential, when you see the kind of talent that we have in that room, it's special."

On having a lot of pass rushers that can get to the quarterback "We have guys that can get to the quarterbacks in different ways. We have guys that can do it with speed. We have guys that can do it with power. We have guys that can do it with both. That's one of the things that is really, really exciting. When you get all of those guys working together, it can be special."

On the defensive front being as dominate as the one he played on in New York:"Yes, it definitely has the potential to be that kind of dominant front. Like I said, it's still early. We have a lot of work to do between now and our first preseason game. We are just focused on improving and stacking days and getting better each day."

On the good play rookie NT Brandon Williams made at the end of practice: "He made a tackle for loss in the short-yardage period. You get excited when your teammates are doing good things, when they are taking coaching and they are applying what they are learning in the film room and the walk-through out here on the practice field. You get excited about it. You have to get excited about your teammates doing good things on this football field."

On what he has seen from rookie NT Brandon Williams so far: "He's a big man that plays with a lot of power. What will surprise you is he's quick. He is very quick for an interior defensive lineman. When he uses that leverage and that power, it spells trouble for those guards and centers. So, I'm just excited to see him develop and continue to grow each day."

On if he has talked to the team at all about playing in a season after winning a Super Bowl:"I really haven't had to speak a lot about that. Coach [John] Harbaugh has really addressed the group in the regard. This team is so focused right now on just improving, just improving from where we started at [during] OTAs and minicamp and just building on each and every day that we come out here and just building on our performances. That's the thing that we are focused on right now. We are focused on improving as our football team and that goes throughout our preseason. We are just taking it one day at a time."

On his thoughts on rookie DT Cody Larsen and DE Will Pericak:"I'll tell you what, those guys are something else. They are very strong, powerful defensive linemen. They just go to work. They don't get tired. They play technique. They are solid. They are fundamentally sound. That's impressive to see when you are talking about a young defensive lineman. Usually it takes two to three years for them to understand that, but those guys get it right off the bat. They are impressive. The scouting department did their homework when they found those guys, because they can really play ball."

TE Ed Dickson

 

On his reaction to TE Dennis Pitta's injury: "My first reaction is I was very sad, just to lose a teammate, a brother like that. Since Day One, we've been helping each other out, and it hurt me to the heart. I've got 24 hours to grieve, and then it's the next man up. That's the mentality here. I've got to pick him up with my play. And it's not just me – it's other guys on the team. It's Ray Rice, it's Joe Flacco, it's everybody picking up for Dennis [Pitta] because he was a great receiver. And I believe he'll come back healthier than what he was."

On if he has reached out to TE Dennis Pitta: "As soon as I got off the field … Because the play happened, and I was still in there, I had to finish practice. I was a little emotional, but I had to finish practice. So, when the play happened, immediately after [I got off] the field, I was looking for him. They said he was at the hospital, and I sent him a text. I just told him, 'We're going to get by this. We can get by this together. It's just a little bump in the road, and [we'll] battle it through treatment and get over it.'"

On how he goes about developing chemistry with QB Joe Flacco similar to that between TE Dennis Pitta: "The bond that they had was on and off the field. They eat breakfast and everything together. So, I'm not going to stalk Joe [Flacco] and follow him around, (laughter) but I'm going to be right there in his pocket. Every little thing on the field – I'm going to master everything on the field, and even off the field. That chemistry has to come from a different bond. You've seen it with Joe and [Todd] Heap, and you've seen it with Dennis and Joe. So, I want to get a little bit on that level. I'm not trying to replace Dennis. I went to Joe and said, 'I'm not trying to replace Dennis,' as being his friend. I just want to get closer to Joe and build that chemistry, because it will help on the field."

On if TE Dennis Pitta's injury changes his expectations for the year: "Not at all. My expectations before the season, coming into the season, were to contribute and help this team get back to where we were last year, and that's winning the Super Bowl. I wanted my production to go up. And how do you get your production to go up? You have to prove out here in practice each and every day that you're the guy, and you can get the job done. It was high expectations for the whole group, and that's just the standard that our [tight ends] coach, Wade Harman, put on that room – for us to go out there and do everything that we have to do as a tight end group and get everything done."

On if this will give him an opportunity to be a bigger part of the offense: "You said it right. You hate to get an opportunity in this fashion, but you have to relish the opportunity, because it doesn't come by that often. The team needs me to step up. They need other guys to step up and make those plays. And with that said, it doesn't start when we start playing games. It starts tomorrow in practice. It started today in practice, and we build on the things we've been building on every day."

 

 

TE Visanthe Shiancoe

On how he is doing:"[I am] all good – glad to be here as a Raven. I'm really excited for the opportunity, and I'm just ready to work. Welcome back to Baltimore."

On if he approached the team or if the Ravens reached out to him: "We talked a couple of days ago. I watched practice with Ozzie [Newsome]. I spent the whole day here. I think that was Friday. We have a mutual respect for each other, and I think we are ready to work. I know we are ready to work, I do think so."

On what attracted him to the Ravens: "No. 1, they are champions. You can't beat that. You can't beat that type of energy here. They have a great team. A lot of people are coming back. They lost a couple of guys, but with Ozzie's [Newsome] personnel [staff], he knows how to bring in some good guys. They are pretty stacked on defense. They have a good offense. I just see a good opportunity here. That's what I see."

On his opportunity after TE Dennis Pitta got hurt: "That's unfortunate. That's unfortunate, but it's almost just like the next guy has to step up, and the team has to go on and still prepare. They owe it to the fans; they owe it to themselves."

On if he thought he would be signed by the Ravens before TE Dennis Pitta got hurt: "I still thought it was a good opportunity. I talked to Ozzie [Newsome] for a long time. I talked to John [Harbaugh]. Everything just panned out pretty well here."

On having good chemistry with Brett Favre in the red zone a couple of seasons ago and how he goes about building chemistry with QB Joe Flacco: "With a veteran quarterback and a veteran player that has been in the league for as long as we have, we definitely have to build some rapport and camaraderie. I think that starts today. I'm excited for all the experience and for the opportunity – should I say. I have good experience, and I'm going to bring it here. I'm going to bring everything I've got. I'm going to work as hard as I can. Nothing is given. You have to earn everything, and I understand that. That's what I've come in here to do. I have come in here nice and humble."

On how frustrating the 2012 season was for him with the New England Patriots after being injured: "It started off with an injury. I had a good injury up there with New England; I ripped my hamstring off the bone. I just want to leave that all in the past. You have eyes in the front of your head for a reason. You don't have eyes in the back of your head, so [I'm] just ready to focus on the feature, not at the past."

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