*Head Coach John Harbaugh *
Opening statement:"What a guy, huh? (As LB Daryl Smith leaves the podium.) *Are you guys impressed with him? [It was a] good practice, and we play Thursday night – a national TV game. ESPN is going to be here, and [we're] pretty fired up about that, too. It should be a great night."* **
Does the national TV make it more exciting? (Jerry Coleman)"Not really, in all honesty. (laughter) I'm just trying to promote the game." (laughter)
John, is the overall expectation for starters to play through the first half and maybe into the second half on Thursday? (Luke Jones)"I would say that. And again, it's individualized. There will be starters that will probably play into the second half, and there will be starters that probably won't make it to the end of the half."* *
It's one thing to see a guy like Daryl Smith from afar, but when you get to work with him on a consistent basis, does he just fit in and "Play Like A Raven?" (Chris Miller)"He does. He really does fit in. Daryl is a pro. I'd say he is a consummate pro in a lot of ways. He doesn't say a lot, because he's just about business, and then you sit down and talk to him and realize the depth of his character and personality. He's a great family man, he's a mature guy, he's a man. And he's also – I really believe – one of the most underrated defensive players in football over the last eight [or] nine years. We feel pretty fortunate that he's here right now. I'm really excited to have him on board."* *
How has Michael Huff done so far, as far as establishing himself in the secondary? (Aaron Wilson)"Michael has bounced around between corner and safety for a number of years, and being able to settle in at safety seems to have helped him. The nice thing is he can back-up at corner if you needed it, but he's in the process of learning the defense. He's done a great job with it, he's a smart guy, but his speed has been noticeable. He is a sideline-to-sideline player, excellent man-coverage guy, solid tackler. He's done a really good job."* *
John, how has Elvis Dumervil fit in? And what are you learning about him that maybe you didn't know when he was at Denver? (Tom Reed)"Just personally, I didn't know Elvis until he got here. [Inside linebackers coach] Don Martindale knew him really well, and Don talked a lot about him, what a great guy he was, and a hard worker, and how much we would really like him. I would say it's far beyond the descriptions I got – just that much better of a guy, a pro, a player. I'll give you an example: We do the stretching [exercises]. He's in there at least three times a day, taking care of himself with the stretching and the different things we do for recovery. That's what a pro does. [He] practices so hard. I really think between he and [Terrell] Suggs and [Courtney] Upshaw – and the other pass rushers, but he's kind of leading the way – he's made our offensive tackles that much better just by the way he practices. So, 4.0 [grade point average] across the board for Elvis Dumervil."* *
With the understanding that it's just a preseason game, is there more credence to this one because your fourth preseason game is so close to your regular season opener? (Jerry Coleman)"Probably so. This is going to be important. It's going to be important the way we play. We want to win every game, and I really am proud of the way our guys have found ways to win. But we also want to play well, and that means every little thing we look at – whether it's run blocking or run defense or the way we make checks and adjustments, the decisions we make at quarterback – we want to play good, solid football, and we've done that at times. But, we haven't been consistent this preseason so far, so we'd like to see that. We're going against a good Carolina team with a lot of talent, a lot of fireworks – especially on offense with Cam Newton and Steve Smith, whom we've got tremendous respect for. They're really well-coached by [head coach] Ron Rivera. [Defensive coordinator] Sean McDermott does a great job on defense. We know those guys. We know their schemes, [and] they know our schemes, so it's going to be a big challenge for us, but a great opportunity to take a step into the regular season from the preseason."* *
John, is it encouraging to get Ed Dickson back, even though he's sort of easing into it? (Aaron Wilson)"[It's been] very encouraging in the last few days. It's really taken a turn for the better, probably in the last five days. He's worked really, extremely hard, so we're happy to see that and we'll have to see. You never know. But we'll have to see where it goes in the next week or so and see where we're at."
Torrey had a great touchdown against the Falcons. What are you seeing on a day-to-day basis from Torrey Smith during training camp? (John Eisenberg) "Even beyond that, he's made a lot of big plays, but he's made a lot of small plays. He's caught a lot of stop-nines, hitches and crossing routes. He's done a great job of downfield blocking. I think Anquan Boldin trained our guys in a way how to block. [Wide receivers coach] Jim Hostler taught them, but Anquan showed them. He's done well with that. There are really no minuses with Torrey."* *
If Torrey Smith draws a lot of attention, how important will that be for other players? (Clifton Brown)"If you think about it, we've got Jacoby [Jones] on the other side and whoever emerges from those other guys. They're all threats. If Torrey draws the coverage, then they are going to have a handful on the other side."* *
What is Jameel McClain's injury situation? Is he taking periodic MRIs or something else? (Jeff Zrebiec) "That's exactly what it is. They've got to take a look at the MRI and make a determination of if he's 100 percent ready to go. There are a lot of people that probably think he could play. I think we've had this conversation now with [McClain] and his family, and we all feel like, 'Let's be unanimous on this.' Jameel will continue to remain a part of us through the PUP. He's in every meeting [and] he's training young guys. He's staying in phenomenal shape. If you've seen him, he's a fitness warrior. All he's going to have to do is get back in football shape, which will take probably a week or two when he does come back. We'll just keep taking the MRIs, and when the MRI is clear, then he'll go. The MRI will be clear. There's no question that at some point in time it will be clear. It's just impossible to tell the time frame. He could have been clear three months ago – we all hoped for that. It could be three weeks from now. If we go with the PUP [designation], which I think we will at this point, [we'll] probably get another MRI before we make that decision. If we do that, then we'll just do it again when that time comes, and we'll see where he is."* *
So, by no means, has [McClain] been ruled out of anything this year? (Jeff Zrebiec)"No, by no means."* *
Would you agree with the statement made by a rookie yesterday that this third preseason game could mean everything for some rookies making the team? (Michelle Gordon)"Yes, it's a fine line for making a team. These battles go on – it's competition. Guys are fighting for a spot on a team. Sometimes you get to this point and it's really close. It's like a football game. It's a three-point game with a minute left, and sometimes making a play at the end is the difference. I think that is probably what he is talking about."
Secondary Coach Teryl Austin
What have you learned about Michael Huff that you guys didn't know? (Aaron Wilson)"I think the thing you have to learn about every player is how fast he can pick up your system [and] how much he can really do. And I think what we've seen every week is a steady growth from him. He's a sharp guy. He's a veteran, [and] he knows how to work, so he's able to pick up everything in our system. What you see [is] as that starts happening, then he starts playing a little faster in the system, and then he has an opportunity to make some plays. I like where he's been in the last week in terms of making plays on the practice field."* *
Is he tougher at tackling than maybe some have given him credit for? (Aaron Wilson)"I think Mike [Michael Huff] is a solid tackler. I know he missed one last week on a big guy, and it was really just a matter of him kind of getting his legs, but a lot of guys have fallen off of Steven Jackson's legs. That's something that we'll continue to work on, and I think he'll be a solid tackler for us throughout the season."* *
What have you seen from Matt Elam? He's been battling James Ihedigbo for the starting safety spot. What are his strengths, and what does he need to improve the most at this point? (Luke Jones)"Obviously, you watch him fly around. He's fast. He closes on the ball carrier [and] on receivers. He's a contact player – you see that right away. He brings a Raven attitude to defense, and we love that. I think the biggest thing with him as a young player is understanding all the nuances of our defense in a short period of time and being able to convert what we do in practice into the games. He'll continue to do that. It's a heck of a battle for the starting safety spot between those three guys, and as always, we'll put the best people on the field – the people we feel give us the best chance to win. When we make that determination probably after this weekend, we'll know who our starters are."* *
What have you seen from Michael Huff in terms of his leadership? (Garrett Downing)"He's not a vocal guy in the sense [that] he's not a big 'rah-rah' guy. But, he commands respect because he carries himself like a professional, and I think that's really what you want. He's new to our team [and] new to our system, but the people in our room respect him because of the way he works and how he goes about his business."* *
When you have a respected veteran like that, does it help when you have a young guy like Matt Elam, who can lean on him for guidance and support? (Garrett Downing)"Absolutely. Absolutely."* *
**What about where Jimmy Smith is after the Atlanta game? Will teams continue to pick on him until he starts to make some plays and prove them otherwise? *(Jerry Coleman) *"This is where I think Jimmy [Smith] is … I know it maybe wasn't a great game for him per se, when you look at it from the outside. But, when I look at Jimmy, I look at his body of work coming off last year's playoffs, in the offseason and what he's done in practice, and, as any corner will tell you, there will be a game out there where you're not playing your best and things don't go your way. But, I have the utmost confidence in Jimmy that he's going to have a fine, fine season for us. He'll make the plays that he's capable of making and should make, and I have no doubts about that."
**Just as a whole, how would you assess [Jimmy Smith] throughout this summer? *(Matt Zenitz) *"I think he's been outstanding. He's worked hard. He's in great shape – the best shape he's been in since he's been here. He's really working at it, and he is – on a daily basis out here – every day, when we go through however many plays we go through, he stands out."
**Do you think [Jimmy Smith has] gotten to the point where not playing his best game won't affect him the way it would have as a rookie? *(Clifton Brown) *"I think it should. At this point, it should. You're going into … It's his third year now. Everybody is going to have the ups and downs, but I would hope that what some people would perceive as a down game, he'll be able to shake that off. And he shook that off for us. I didn't see anything where he came in and was, 'Oh, man that was so bad.' There was nothing like that. It was like, "OK, let's get to work. Let's see what we can improve. What can I do better this week?'"
**It's not up to you, but how big would it be for Lardarius Webb to get some action in the third preseason game, and how have you seen him develop? *(Luke Jones) *"It's good. We've brought 'Webby' [Lardarius Webb] along slowly. We want to make sure we work him in [and] not do anything too fast for him. But he's participated fully the last few days, and we feel good about him. It's not the full amount of reps, but he's done everything that we've asked him to do. I would anticipate that, barring any setbacks, I'm hopeful that he'll be ready that first game, for sure."
S Michael Huff
On whether he feels like he knows the defense better now:"It's going well. I've been here for a little while now, so I've picked up all the ins and outs, and now it's kind of learning all the teammates and seeing what we can do in certain defenses and what we can't do. But, for the most part [it's going well]."* *
On if he's reacting more than thinking at this point:"Oh, yeah. When I first got here, I could tell I was thinking about what I should do on this play or what check to make here. But now, I think I'm getting more comfortable and just playing football."* *
On his goals for the season:"[I] really just [want to] be a leader – just make plays. I've just got to go out there and play my game and don't really worry about anything else – make plays and do whatever it takes for the defense to win. The better the defense plays, the better the team will play, so it's all about winning games."* *
On his impressions of WR Torrey Smith:"He's a beast. No matter if he can catch a five-yard slant and take it 80 [yards], or he can beat you outside with the deep ball, he's got a full game as far as a receiver goes. He's not really one-dimensional; he can do it all."* *
On if his impressions of Smith have changed since he last game-planned for him in Oakland:"Going on film, you really see him catch all the deep balls. I didn't know he could catch the little hitches and run precise routes like that until I actually got here and see how much work he puts in, and how hard he works every day in practice. I definitely saw it once I got here."* *
On what he's looking to get out of the third preseason game:"Really, just come out here and put something good on film. We know this is really our last dress rehearsal going into Denver, so we definitely want to go out here and be on all cylinders. This first half is going to be like a real game for us, so we're going to go out there and communicate, execute and just make plays."* *
On what it's like to play for a winning organization:"It's great. Anytime you win, it's a good feeling. I had some good years [in Oakland]; I had some bad years there. But, I don't really want to dwell on that. I'm here now, and I'm excited to win. I'm excited to be part of this organization and ready to get another ring."* *
On if anything surprised him about the way DT Haloti Ngata and OLB Terrell Suggs go about their business: "I didn't know how much they laugh and joke and make fun of people.* (laughter) When you see it on the outside, you see they're all 'Grrrrr,' [and] you're scared of them. In the meeting rooms, they laugh, joke [and] make fun of people. So, it's definitely good seeing that side of them."* **
On if he feels his tackling could have been better in the past: "It definitely could have been better. Obviously, I've missed a lot of tackles – mostly in my young days. I missed a lot of tackles then. I think, as my career has [progressed], I've gotten better at tackling. That's one thing you can always work on. You can never be a perfect tackler, and obviously, people are going to miss tackles. The main thing is just limiting the ones you miss. With a swarm defense, you can miss a tackle, and you're brothers will help you out."* *
On how much speed helps him:"It helps a lot, especially with disguising. I can line up on that hash and still get to the other hash where I'm supposed to be. So, I definitely think it helps disguising on defense."* *
On if he still does track workouts:"Oh, yeah – every summer. I work with Michael Johnson back in Dallas every year. Speed is the name of the game, so you always want to keep the speed."* *
On if he hopes to fall under the category of underrated offseason signings by the Ravens:"Definitely, [if I] just go out there and make plays, play my game, I think everything will take care of itself."* *
On his relationship with rookie S Matt Elam:"[I] really just teach him everything I know – on the field [and] off the field, make sure he's good. Especially for a first-round pick safety [who's] following a legend, I've been there. I had to follow Charles Woodson in Oakland, and he's following Ed [Reed] here. So, [I'm] kind of being there for him on the field [and] off the field. Whatever he needs, I'll help him out."* *
On how the defense is coming together:"I think we're a lot better than we were in OTAs [and] mini-camps. We're still learning each other – still learning what we can do. We only really had two games together. That's when you really see what you have. We're still learning and picking it up, but I definitely think we're growing together."
On if he and Michael Johnson ever compete against each other on the track: "Oh, no – he would probably still get me.* We train together a little bit. We'll run 20s and 10s – like little bursts with me – but as far as long distance speed, I think he has it."* **
On if losing to Michael Johnson is humbling:"Yes. I feel [like] I'm pretty fast, except when I look at my Madden rating. They've got me [at] 93 speed, but that's another story. (laughter) *He can definitely still run."* **
On what the biggest challenge is for a young safety like Elam:"I think [it's] the mental side. I tell him every day, 'It's just football.' He's been doing it since he was little. Every game, I tell him, 'Don't treat it any different.' He's been playing football his whole life, so go out there, and treat it just like another game, trust his instincts, and trust what he sees and make plays."* *
On if he feels focusing on playing safety has helped him:"Definitely. Especially playing corner last year, I can see things through a different point of view, a different set of eyes. Now I can see what can hurt the corners in certain defenses. Being a safety, I can make up for that a little bit here and there, and I definitely think playing corner helped me last year. But now, I'm back to safety and just focusing on that."
MLB Daryl Smith
On what his role is as one of the leaders on defense:"My personal job has always been the same: come in, work hard, help younger guys. My personal job will be the same. I'm very fortunate to be a Raven [and] be a part of this organization. With everything we've got going on – all the work we're putting in – we're really coming together. We're just going to keep working and go into Thursday and put another good game together and see how it goes."* *
On why he has picked up the playbook so quickly:"I've been in the league 10 years – I hope to pick it up faster than a younger guy. [I've been] working with the coaches, with other players who've been in the system [and] talking with them. It's really just about us coming together and communicating on the field well and talking about the same things while we're on the field. We've really been doing that, and we'll get better as we continue to work."* *
On the opportunity to rejuvenate his career in Baltimore:"It's a great opportunity for me to do that. I was hurt last year [and] definitely want to prove that I'm healthy and I can still play. That's just part of it. I want to come in and help this team continue to win and be a part of the success."* *
On the corrections that need to be made from the Falcons game:"[In the] Atlanta game, we just weren't fundamentally sound. This week was just getting back to [making] corrections that we could have made easily. We just have to go out … We've been doing it all week, so we're looking forward to Thursday to really getting out there and seeing what our fruits are."* *
On if he realizes the magnitude of replacing Ray Lewis:"No, I'm not really to getting into that question. My focus [is to] learn the defense and help the younger guys. There's a standard that is set here. We don't want to be the group of guys that lets that down. It's just all about coming in, putting that work in and living up to that standard."* *
On if he feels honored that he was chosen to replace Lewis:"Definitely, but I don't really think about all that stuff. My focus is playing football and getting better each day."* *
On if he admired Lewis or any other defenders growing up:"Ray [Lewis] was one of the main guys that I watched. Derrick Brooks … A number of guys … Junior Seau. Ray is going to be known as probably the greatest linebacker to play this game. You really can't replace that. Everything he did, everything he meant to this organization … [I'm excited to] just come in and put in work, and I'm hoping to be a part of the team's success."* *
On how welcoming his teammates were when he arrived:"We're already a great group of guys coming in, and they welcomed me as soon as I came in. When you're out here [doing] the type of work we put in – sweating, bleeding together – it just builds [camaraderie] anyway. That's just what it is."* *
On what he knew about QB Joe Flacco prior to arriving:"I knew he was a big, strong guy. Now that I'm here in the organization, practicing every day, I can really see and appreciate everything that he is. It's no wonder the success they've been having with [Flacco]."* *
On if the younger players are practicing differently with roster cuts looming:"Each week, everybody is working to get better, and with the younger guys, it's no different. I think right now they're feeling a little bit comfortable in the system and learning. Right now, it's just about them going out and performing well. The coaches have been preaching it to them and [other] players. I think they'll be ready to go."* *
On his trip to Baltimore that made him want to sign with the Ravens:"It's hard to explain. You go somewhere and you get a feeling that it feels right. Just talking with some of the guys who have played here – some former teammates – [they said,] 'Hey, you're going to love [Baltimore].' That helped a lot, it really did."* *
On what the defense needs to do this week to get ready for the regular season:"This week we just need to get back to the basics and play fundamental, regular football. We'll see how it goes Thursday."