Training camp: VETERAN REPORT DAY
OLB Elvis Dumervil
On what he thinks about playing next to OLB Terrell Suggs: "I'm excited. I think we have a lot of good players on this defense. I think, primarily, you have got guys inside. That's important, especially having that rotation. Obviously, with what Terrell Suggs brings on the other side, it can be a trifecta, so it should be special."
On conversations between Suggs and him about their potential: "We just have to get better. Trying to go against Michael Oher, [Bryant] McKinnie – I think it starts here in training camp. So we're excited to take that challenge first, and as we get past that, in preseason. And then, once the season starts to come, we'll have plenty of those moments."
On if he reported to camp lighter: "A little leaner. I just want to be able to run all day."
On what he respects most about Suggs: "I think his IQ of football is good. I think he has a great anticipation of the ball and the pre-snap keys. So, I think he knows what's going on, and that's big as an outside rusher."
On his impressions of OLB Courtney Upshaw: "Courtney is another good player as well. So, we're excited. I think the more players you have to come and do things, it helps the defense. So, Courtney brings his presence, and it's going to be great for everybody."
On what Upshaw does particularly well: "This is the first year I've seen him. I think as a rookie, he played outstanding with the reps that he had. He's a good run stopper, and I think his football IQ is pretty good, too. And he's still learning. He's hungry and he's willing to work, and that's important."
On his impressions of rookie OLB John Simon: "He's a hard worker, too. It seems like Ozzie [Newsome] brings nothing but hard workers in and guys who want it. And I think that's what he brings. As a rookie in mini-camp, he didn't say much, but he worked hard, and that's what you should do as a rookie."
On the NFL rule change mandating the use of thigh and knee pads: "I heard of that rule. It's something that we get used to in mini-camp, and we'll move along as we go forward with that."
On filling a leadership void for Baltimore: "I haven't won a ring, so for me, I want a ring. I think what I could bring is a hunger, still, and I'm sure Coach 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] isn't going to let [complacency] happen. And that's one of the reasons I chose to come here. I felt the leadership here was outstanding. And for me, I want a ring, and I think as a team [that has] already done it, I think it favors your way more than people may think."
On if he has time to be patient to see if guys will follow his leadership: "I think the way you play on the field and how you lead by example … You know, leadership doesn't come with talking or speech – it's just how you carry yourself. I've always been a leader. That's just natural for me, and I think I've learned how to follow before I can lead. So, Year Eight – I think I know a little bit."
On how it feels to be in camp with the Ravens after a wild offseason: "I'm excited. I can't wait. I've been working hard all offseason. I've been here day-in and day-out, getting to meet the new teammates and coaching staff. I love what's going on here – the community being great, the fans. I just want to come out here and start playing football and start getting ready."
On his reaction to the news of Denver OLB Von Miller's suspension: "I spoke to Von maybe the day before the situation broke. We have conversations all the time. He's like a younger brother. It's unfortunate [that] the situation happened, but I told him [when] adversity happens, it's how you respond to it. He's like a younger brother, so that's a little sensitive."
On the key to getting everyone on defense to mesh before the season: "I think just being hungry and just working hard and being coachable. I think we have those type of veterans – guys we brought in and guys that are already here – and I think if we have that type of core, good things happen."
On his impressions of the way John Harbaugh runs a practice: "I love it. He works hard. You get better. I've always been that kind of guy, so I guess that's why I'm here. I'm excited. I think the more that you can fine-tune your arsenal, your technique, it better prepares you for the season, especially when you deal with injuries and things happen. You appreciate it more. I've been out for a year before, so I know how that feels. Whenever you have the opportunity to come out and practice and get better, I think … This is your job, you have to work. I don't think there's no such thing as hard work, especially if you're getting paid for it."
On the adjustment to being a stand-up linebacker: "You have to be coachable and just be open to whatever the team needs you to do. I think that's why I came in in probably the best shape I've been in. So, I'm excited for that and just a new chapter – OTAs, mini-camps, and now you get to training camp. That's when you know its starts to get really serious. You put the pads on, start to compete and just get better."
On if this is the best shape he's been in: "Yeah, for sure."
On if he did anything in particular to get in shape: "The more years you play, you start to eat right, you start to work out, you start not just working hard, but working smart. I think me, personally, in my personal life, things have changed, so I have a clear mind of what I want to do."
On his grasp of the Ravens' playbook: "There are always things to get better on, but I've had my playbook. I've studied since I've been gone. So, when I come here, I feel familiar with what's going on. I feel pretty good where I'm at."
On how good he thinks the defensive front can be: "It's more than me and Terrell. We've got Haloti [Ngata], Arthur [Jones], [Chris] Canty, [Marcus] Spears. You have so many guys. We mentioned Courtney over there. We've got the secondary, and we have a pretty good coaching staff. You combine all those things, it's special. Me and Suggs – it's always the outside rushers that get the recognition. I just think we're blessed to have a lot of good players, so we're excited for that."
On how close he was to sacking QB Joe Flacco before his TD throw to Jacoby Jones in the Divisional Playoff game last season:"I wasn't close enough. He got the ball off. And give credit to him – he stepped up in the pocket, and we didn't get the job done. I have to make sure I don't get in that position again."
On who's helping him through the process of becoming a Raven: "I've learned from everybody. I've learned from Terrell, Courtney, [Pernell] McPhee. You've got a lot of guys you can learn from – [Inside linebackers] coach 'Wink' [Don Martindale], [linebackers] coach Ted [Monachino], coach [Dean] Pees [defensive coordinator], coach 'Harbs.' I'm like a sponge – I'm soaking it all in. And what I knew from before, it helps."
On if it feels like there are Super Bowl champions walking around the building: "One good thing with this team of 2013 [is] we all have something to prove. We all have something to prove, for sure – from coaching staff [on] down. I think everybody … It's a totally different team. Whenever it's a totally different team, stakes are different, questions are asked, so you have to go out and prove yourself. That's the beauty of it."
On if he's excited to actually play games and prove how good the defense can be: "We will be better this year, for sure."
On if any of the guys have walked around with their Super Bowl rings: "I don't think they're trying to taunt me or nothing. (laughter) If I had a ring, I'd be wearing it right now. I've seen rings."
On if opening night in Denver is too far away to think about right now: "Yeah, I have to worry about Joe Flacco in practice. I've got Michael Oher, McKinnie, Ray Rice [and] those guys, so we have to compete here. That time for Denver, it will come."
On his impressions of Flacco's leadership: "I like Joe. I think, especially [during] the OTA mini-camp, he was a true leader in the way he moved that offense and moved the team. I think to win in this league, you have to have a good quarterback, and that's one area I feel good about for our team."
OLB Terrell Suggs
On how good of a duo he and OLB Elvis Dumervil can be this year:"We can be pretty good if everything goes according to plan [and] we keep everybody healthy. It's going to take more than just us two though, for the duo to work, because it's definitely the other guys in the front. It's a collaborative effort of everybody doing their job in the back end."
On what he says to the people who question the defense with all of the changes that took place:"Keep questioning it. We're never really going to see what it's like until we all line up, until we get on the field. This is the first time in the [team's] history, since the Ravens moved back from Cleveland in '96, that there is no Ray Lewis or Jonathan Ogden. It's definitely going to be interesting to see what it looks like, but I've said it before, his legacy … He has left a standard here, and every man on our defense will be held accountable for playing to that standard."
On what he expects out of his play in the coming year:"I just expect to really work hard. I really expect on defense to come out and be held to that standard, and that goes for every man, including myself. So, let's get into camp, get to practicing, and most importantly, let's get ready to play some football and keep everybody healthy."
On how it feels for him to come in healthy after battling with injuries last season:"It put a lot of things in perspective, like I said before, things that I took for granted – the opportunity to get to go to work and play with my teammates. Every football player would tell you training camp, reporting to camp, is not really our happiest time, but it's definitely needed. We definitely need to get our bodies in football shape, because the only thing that will get you in football shape is football, and we need that. I wish I had had the opportunity to do training camp last year, having missed it."
On his thoughts of QB Joe Flacco's progression as a leader, and what he thinks when Flacco barks back at him during practice:"I think Joe's maturity is showing just as his career has grown. He's shown that he's always going to be 'Cool Joe.' Now he's comfortable in his own skin that he can bark at the defensive guys. He came to a team that was primarily known for the defense, but now, we've got ourselves a big gun over there that can not only get it done, but he can win championships. So, it's really good to be comfortable as a defender [and] to finally have a quarterback that you can rely on."
On if he feels responsibility as the longest-standing current member of the Ravens team:"Definitely, definitely – I think there's definitely a responsibility that comes with that. But I'm honored to have that responsibility, so to say. But, it's not just me. I'm only a few years ahead of Haloti [Ngata] and a few years ahead of [Lardarius] Webb. It's primarily going to fall on the vets that have been here the longest, but most definitely on the guy that's been here the longest."
On what the key is to getting all of the new players meshed and on the same page as a group:"I don't really think there is an answer to that question. I think chemistry is going to be key, and just getting us all out there to play with each other. But, we brought in a lot of vets – we didn't bring in a lot of younger guys – we brought in a lot of vets. These guys have been around the game, they've been in winning programs, and I think it's going to be good. They're going to bring a lot to our team and help us win some games."
On if OLB Elvis Dumervil brings something to the pass rush that they have not had in the past: "Most definitely. He definitely brings that – not to take away from [Paul] Kruger and Jarret Johnson – but Elvis, he has a specialty in things that he does, kind of like myself. And I think it's going to be fun to see us when we finally all get to get out there and get after it and the bullets are live."
On what OLB Courtney Upshaw brings to the table:"I think it's definitely a good problem to have. You want to have too many guys and not have the problem of not having enough guys. So, I think Courtney's going to be stout for us. I don't know particularly where or how it's going to work out, but I know it's going to work out. We're going to get him on the field as much as we possibly can – like you said, get all three of us out there. He was huge for us last year. I can't explain how huge Courtney Upshaw was. Now for him to have another year under his belt, you bring in Dumervil, you bring in [Chris] Canty and [Marcus] Spears and Michael Huff – it seems like we have the opportunity not to miss a beat."
On OLB Courtney Upshaw's potential as a pass rusher:"I think the sky is the limit for Courtney Upshaw. He's a young guy, he's in his second year. Like I said, it's however high he wants his career to go. It's pretty much up to him. He's got a lot of vets out there that are going to help him make the right decisions."
On if it's tough to not think about his own football mortality:"Well, I'm 30, so I'm all right. A lot of those guys [who have retired] are a lot older than me. I'm 30, so if you ask me, I'm probably entering in my football prime right now. I'm not going to think about that this year, definitely. At the end of the year? Probably. I don't know; it depends on how the year goes."
On how his Achilles tendon feels:"Feeling good. Achilles feels good, biceps feels good – I'm 100 percent. You come out here, you report for camp, you don't have any nicks, any bruises, you don't have to sit out. You can't ask for more than that – that opportunity to go to work. Like I said, I'm just blessed that I am 100 percent right now and I do get to go to work."
On his subdued attitude and if this is a new side of him:"Not really, I mean, people have been asking that. I'm still going to be 'Sizzle,' I'm still going to have fun. My objective – our objective, the team objective – is different now, considering [we're] coming off the great things that we had done last year and the great things that happened in the offseason. I'm always going to be Terrell, we're always going to have a very fun, relaxed locker room. Media dodge ball will return this year, with the lights off. *(laughter) *I'm going to always be 'Sizzle' – you can always count on that. Like I said, I didn't have this opportunity last year, and I'm kind of just taking it in. I didn't get the privilege of going to work and [being in] training camp with my team [in2012]. I'm just kind of taking it all in, just enjoying it all."
On what he thinks the national media's perspective of QB Joe Flacco will be like this year:"Well, he doesn't have to do any talking – all he has to do is flash his ring. There are a lot of quarterbacks that have been in this league longer than him with marquee quote, unquote, bigger names than him and bigger personalities than him. But they don't have that hardware. A lot of them can't even say that they've been in the playoffs every year of their career. So, I think his résumé speaks for itself, and I don't think myself or Joe need to do any more talking concerning that."
On how important it is to have guys healthy at the start of camp:"It's huge. It's huge. You definitely want to go into the season healthy. I've always said it, 'You've never won a Super Bowl in training camp, but you have lost them.' I think the No. 1 thing is just to get healthy [and] stay healthy. We've got a lot of guys coming back off of injury, and we're just ready to have a good year. I think that's first and foremost. We're going to get the guys out here and we're going to work, but I think we also need to be smart working."
On what else he has to prove after earning Defensive Player of the Year honors and winning a Super Bowl:"You can always do better. You can always do better, especially with this city. This is the league of, 'What have you done for me lately?' so I don't want to rest on those laurels. I'm good with those mountains that I've climbed, but I'm into climbing more. That's what we're in this business for. I'm looking for my next obstacle, and we'll just determine what that is in the near future."
On if 24 sacks is a realistic goal for he and Dumervil: "I don't know. We are not going to cap the potential of what me and Elvis can do. That's a number that we can use, reach [and] shoot for. Also, the number of sacks as a whole total defense, against the run, third down percentage … You don't just want to be good in one particular area, because you can look throughout the NFL – some guys have monster numbers, but no playoff wins. We're in the business of winning here. By every means that we get that done, that's what we're going to be shooting for."
On how important training camp is, considering the Ravens haven't lost a season opener under John Harbaugh: "Training camp is very important – don't misconstrue that. But not losing the season opener – I was like, 'Wow, I didn't even know that until you just said it.' Like I said, it's all about winning here. We want to win, and we're going to use training camp to work. We're not training for just the opener. We're training for an NFL season."