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Ravens Transcripts: Wednesday Practice

Head Coach John Harbaugh


Opening statement:"Good to see you. A couple of updates: Marc Anthony had a shoulder strain. It's not serious. He should be back soon. Ramon Harewood went and saw a doctor about his knee. He's going to get an injection. [It] will give him a little more [comfort] – just take the friction out of there. He should be good to go when he gets back."

You talked about Courtney Upshaw with his weight back in OTAs. Just an update on him, how you think he looks from a conditioning standpoint and how he's played so far … (Luke Jones)"He's played well. Courtney [Upshaw] played really well during the minicamps when he was carrying more weight, but he's really taken a lot of the weight off. I don't have the exact number, but it's significantly down. It's very close to his target – exactly how many pounds, I don't know. It kind of fluctuates. But, he's doing well."

It's been awhile since you've talked about Marshal Yanda. Any updates there or any idea on when he is going to be back? (Matt Vensel) "We had a pretty good idea. I don't want to put an exact date on it. But, it will be in training camp pretty good. We aren't in a rush with him. [He is] very much on schedule. He's doing certain things. He does things in the morning. He goes through the morning workout. He goes through some individual stuff, so he's practicing. He's just not going through the contact stuff, but he's doing very, very well."

Changes to the Pro Bowl, I guess your thoughts on that, especially being a special teams guy that they might be getting rid of kick returns … (Matt Vensel) "It's interesting, because one of the few times I happened to actually read my email during training camp because I saw it said 'Pro Bowl Changes' on there, and I had no idea they were talking about doing this. Having been a special teams coach in the Pro Bowl, I can tell you it's the toughest job, because the guys aren't real thrilled about going out there and covering kicks. So, the special teams coach, he's going to bring his family out there and have a nice vacation. It's going to be great." (laughing)

Any thoughts on the way they are doing the picking of the teams? (Matt Vensel) "It sounds interesting. It sounds like a lot of fun. I would just say if you are coach out there, you have to cross your fingers and hope that your guy picks the best players."

*Speaking of special teams, how about Justin [Tucker] with the 61-yarder today and then you giving him a shot at 71? *(Garrett Downing) *"Yes, I was really disappointed with the 71-yard miss. It came up a little short. He's going to have to get in the weight room on that. (laughing)* He had a really good day."

Can you explain the scoring system for practice? (Matt Vensel) "I could, but I probably need my notes in front of me. We actually spent a lot of time on that. I give some of our guys credit: [football video operations coordinator] Drew Wilkins and [defensive quality control coach] Matt Weiss. [They] did a lot of research on that. Drew watched all of our practice tape on the last two years and watched a lot of NFL tape and looked at NFL averages and figured out how to figure that out. Basically, it's a point for a win and a point for a loss for either side. Then, when it's a more difficult win like a third-and-10 for the offense, it would be more points and less points for the defense. If the offense gets a third-and-10, it's three points."

What is the rational just to let them know specifically what they are playing for out there and just kind of count it up? (Matt Vensel) "You mean the philosophy of scoring the practice? (Reporter: "Yes.") The philosophy is competing, absolutely. The general philosophy is we are keeping score. We are competing in everything we do, and we want to get as good as we can get. We want to compete."

They have always kind of pinned against each other – offense, defense. Have you noticed it coming out more? (Ryan Mink) "I don't know about that. I will say maybe there is less room for arguing on who won at the end. We have a scoreboard now, so we know."

**With Michael Oher now kind of not going back and forth this year, what do you think he's potential at right tackle? *(Aaron Wilson) *"I've always thought Michael Oher's potential is the sky is the limit for Michael. Michael Oher is a Pro Bowl tackle-type guy. We have always believed that. The fact that he can settle down on the right side now is probably something that will help him have the chance to achieve that."

Can you talk a little bit about Matt Furstenburg, and what you've seen from him out there? (Kristen Berset) "Matt [Furstenburg] has really improved from the minicamp. He was having a little … He just didn't play fast in the minicamp. I think it was more mental than anything else. Now, he's learned what he is doing, and he's made some plays. It seems like he is getting more confident every single day, and he's doing a really good job. He's playing himself into a possible opportunity to make the team."

*Was that kind of a statement practice for Ed Dickson today? It seemed like he was catching everything that came his way after the day off. (Gerry Sandusky) *"Maybe. It would be worth asking him that. I thought Ed [Dickson] practiced extremely well. Ed is talented. Ed has worked really hard, and I'm glad he's going to get an opportunity to show what he can do."

With the scoring, are we to take 61-29 that the offense had a good day? (John Eisenberg) "That would be a fair inference, yes. They made up some ground from the last two days. And, we are keeping an overall camp number, too. And, there are perks as you guys saw the other day. To the victor goes the spoils, right?"

Certainly not questioning Joe Flacco's competitive fire and nature, we don't see it as often as you do, but we are seeing him kind of taunting a little bit and being more vocal. Do you enjoy seeing that side of him come out more and more as he goes on? (Mark Zinno) "I do. Joe [Flacco] actually has pretty much always been that way. You are probably seeing more of it. He's probably more comfortable letting his personality shine a little bit more than he had in the past. The only time I'm not comfortable with it is when the play clock is running. I prefer he get in there and call a play. He's a great leader. Joe is a great leader."

Bryant McKinnie on the left side – how is he progressing? (Clifton Brown) "Bryant [McKinnie] gets better every day. He made it through the whole practice. I thought he looked good at the end of practice. He still has a little ways to go, but he's doing a nice job."

FB Vonta Leach


On it feeling like he's never left: "It's like I never left. It felt good just to get out there and be back around some of the guys – just get back to football. It's been a long offseason for myself, so just for me to get back out here and put on the pads and knock some of the dust off, some of the rust off – it felt pretty good."

On how nice it is to have contract negotiations behind him: "It's really nice. It was a frustrating process, but I'm glad I'm here. I want to be back, so I'm glad I'm here."

On if he ever thought he wouldn't be back: "There was always a possibility that I wouldn't be [back], but there was always that chance, even when it happened, that I would be back."

On how big of a recruiter RB Ray Rice was throughout the process: "He [Ray Rice] kind of let the process play out. He called me a couple of times and we talked. That was basically it."

On how hard it was to work out a deal after being released: "I've been in this league a long time, and I've seen a lot of stuff. I've been cut, been released maybe five [or] six times in my career. I've been here, seen it all [and] done at all. So, it's just part of the business, and unfortunately, I know firsthand."

On the Ravens relying more on the running game with TE Dennis Pitta injured: "We don't know. Like I said, we never know what our identity is going to be until after training camp. We've got a lot of guys that can make plays. People are going to have to step up – that's just always been the motto around here. 'Next man up.'"

On RB Ray Rice's reaction to seeing him back on the field: "He was happy. We talked a couple of times. He didn't even know I was in the building. I didn't even tell him I was coming up here. So, when he found out that I signed, he was pretty happy. He was in the cold tub, so he was pretty happy."

On the new Pro Bowl format that makes it possible for teammates to play on opposing sides: "That's my first time hearing that, but I don't know. I guess when the time comes, we'll see about that. I guess they're trying to make it more entertaining, [get] more fans to watch it [and make it] more exciting, so we'll see. We'll cross that path when it comes."

On the narrative of him bringing toughness back to the Ravens: "I'm just happy to be back. Whatever I've got to do – whatever role I have on this team this year, I'm going to be ready for it."

On the emotion in the locker room: "It was just like I said … The toughest thing is [not] being around the guys – [not] being around so many guys that you fought with, that you work out with every day, that you laugh with, you're in the meetings with; that was probably the hardest thing. So, just being able to be with them, being able to talk to them, and just get back in that locker room – that's a special place."

On if he feels he will take on a leadership role right away: "I don't know. I just come back and fit right back in. Just like I said, it's like I never left."

On if he thinks he can get caught up quickly: "We don't have to play a game tomorrow. I took a thousand snaps; the offensive hasn't changed. Give me a week's time, and I think I'll be right back where I left off."

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