Head Coach John Harbaugh
*Opening statement: *"Good to see everybody. Thanks for coming out. It's obviously a beautiful day; what a gorgeous day out here. It couldn't be any better, and we get to play football, coach football and just be around our guys. This is paradise. We're loving every minute of it, and the guys are working really hard. The guys are in great shape, and we just have to build a winning football team, a team that plays winning football. That's what we're working on doing right now. A couple things – one thing mainly: We got good news on Breshad Perriman. That's been widely reported. I can't believe everybody didn't wait for the press conference to talk about that, but that was great news. I'll say this: Many, many strong prayers were answered on that. Let's give credit where credit is due. That's how I'll look at it. Faith wins. That was a really great report for all of us, and he'll have to go to work for the next couple of months and get himself in shape and have to overcome this to get ready for training camp. When he's back, he'll be back and he'll be rolling. We're really excited for him on that account."
John, just to elaborate on that, there is no real tear of WR Breshad Perriman's ACL? Is there a time frame for his return? And what does he have to do from here? (Dave Ginsburg) "I don't know the degrees of it. It's a partial tear … I don't even want to say what words I would say. I would just say that it's not a tear that needs to be repaired. I don't know if it's a tear or it it's a partial tear or what exactly. I wasn't there. Maybe Breshad can comment on that from what the doctors told him when he comes back. It just needs treatment, and he should be back at some point in time during training camp [and] will certainly be ready for the regular reason. But, again, that's always unpredictable. I think we've been down this road before. We'll continue to just work hard and do that. It was really good news today."
In the meantime you have WR Mike Wallace, who is really a bona fide deep threat. What have you seen from him? And are you pleased to have him downfield? (Dave Ginsburg) "[I am] very pleased to have Mike with us. He's done a great job. He worked really hard the whole offseason. He's very smart, he learns the offense quickly, and you can do anything with him. He goes deep, he comes across, he runs routes [and] has good hands. I think he's just done a tremendous job as an all-around receiver, and I he's going to be a big part of what we're doing this year."
John, many of the absences from minicamp are known with injuries, but in OLB Elvis Dumervil's case, what's his situation? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I think Elvis is going to be up here tomorrow, so he can give you the details. But he had what has been termed a 'preventative procedure.' He's not ready to go in minicamp. He'll be ready to go in training camp, but he can explain that to you tomorrow."
John, are the reports true that the team has been practicing with sensor footballs to teach ball security (Brian Bower) "Oh, the ones that beep? The beeping footballs? Yeah, we are. It's not in the regular part of the practice; it's in drills. You see we've done some drills that are ball security-type drills, and those are the balls that we use. It responds in a way when you have it in the proper grip, it lets you know. We had a ball security presentation in one of our meetings. [Running backs coach] Thomas Hammock did it, and he tossed it to me and I was squeezing it, and the darn thing wouldn't beep, wouldn't beep. And I've been working out; I feel like I'm pretty strong right now. (laughter) [We] found out later the battery was dead, for the record. (laughter) I'm sticking to it, that's right."
We're always asking players what the biggest challenge is when they switch teams. Secondary coach Leslie Frazier has switched teams many times and he's new here. What do you think the challenge is for a coach coming into a new situation? (Joe Platania) "That's an interesting question. It is challenging for a coach to switch. When you're not on the ground floor and you come in to a program, you have to learn a lot. It's not like learning to play. Learning to play is obviously critically important – a player has to do it. But when you have to stand up in front of the room and teach, and teach a system inside and out when you haven't really been in the system, [with] terminology and you don't know all the nuances in terms of how the system is built to respond to all of the different things that can happen, it's a challenge. But Leslie is very experienced and very smart. He has been in a lot of different systems and is just an all-around good guy. He's bringing and he's adding to the system – just like all of the coaches do – and making us better. He's had no problem with it."
In terms of offensive coordinator Marc Trestman's second year here, is the second year much easier when a guy comes in – especially with an experienced quarterback like Joe Flacco – to implement his system? (Don Markus)"We're going to be in much better shape, in terms of building the system from that standpoint than we were the first year, because it's even tougher – the point about the coach coming in – when you're a coordinator coming in to basically keep a system in place. Obviously, that's challenging. Marc was well prepared to do that because of his experience. But now the system is more his than it was last year. I think it's more ours than it was last year. Collectively, we've spent a lot of time building the offensive system. We have a lot of confidence in what we're doing. We're excited about what we built into it, and Marc Trestman is the main architect of that because he's the offensive coordinator, and he's really very well equipped to do that. I'm excited about where we're going offensively. I think we're going to be really well-coached. We just have to build execution out here. We just have to come out here, get good, take care of our business and get good at what we're doing. That's really what this is all about right now."
John, I know you don't tweet, but T Eugene Monroe tweeted last week that he had been cleared to play. Just for clarity, what is his status? (Cliff Brown) "As a coaching staff, we just respond to what happens in terms of front office-type of situations. My understanding right now is that teams are inquiring about Eugene. When you're in that kind of a situation, when there's a possibility of those kinds of things happening, you're pretty much obligated to pull back and not practice a guy. That where it's at right now. It's in [general manager/executive vice president] Ozzie's [Newsome] hands, and we'll just see where it goes."
Secondary Coach Leslie Frazier
Opening statement:"Good afternoon. I really enjoyed our work today. It's been a pleasure for me, in the short time I've been here, to get a chance to work with John [Harbaugh] and the rest of the coaches on the staff. Now, here we are at mandatory minicamp and having a chance to work with a secondary that I think is improving every day. Having the leadership of Eric Weddle, Lardarius Webb making the change from corner to safety – getting the chance to work with Sheldon Price, Shareece Wright … And hopefully Jimmy [Smith] will be back when we get to training camp. But the guys are working hard, and I'm enjoying the opportunity to work with them."
What is the biggest challenge for DB/RS Lardarius making the switch from corner to safety? (Bo Smolka) "Probably the biggest challenge is it's just different where you line up on the field. When you're at corner, you're lining up on probably at one corner or the other. The way we use our safeties, it could be left or right. It could be in the middle of the field [or] it could be down at the line of scrimmage in the box. There are many different challenges, and the communication is a lot different at safety than it is at corner where you're primarily working with just your guy. But now you're kind of responsible, along with our other safety, of controlling our entire defense and particularly our back end. It presents some different challenges than playing corner, but he's well equipped because of his athletic ability. He's a smart football player [and] a savvy football player with great instincts. That gives us hope, as far as him making the transition. Everything he's done up to this point has made us all realize that he can get it done. The next step will be when he can get the pads on and he has to make some of those tackles that safeties have to make. But as far as the mental part, the physical part and being able to have the instincts and the wherewithal to make those plays on the back end at safety, he can do it for sure."
CB Jerraud Powers is somebody you guys picked up this offseason. What do you see from him as a veteran guy? What do you see his role being? (Garrett Downing) "Jerraud has been a tremendous asset for us in the short time we've had him. [He has] a lot of experience. I got to know him a little bit when he was in Indy through other coaches that I know that were there, and his experience shows up for us at practice – his communication, how smart he is and his athletic ability. He's a guy that we feel real good about playing that nickel-corner spot with Lardarius [Webb] playing safety on a full time basis. There's not a lot of drop-off when he lines up on the slot receiver. He brings a lot of experience and a lot of play-making ability at that spot."
There's a lot of talk about this team needing to create more turnovers. How do you go about teaching that? Is that something you think you can teach? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I do think that's something you can teach, and as a matter of fact, John [Harbaugh] has had us emphasize taking the ball away every day in practice. There's a set period just to work on taking the ball away on defense. But also, he's got offensive guys doing it as well, if there's a turnover and we have to try to get the ball back. Our entire team is working on the turnover-takeaway differential in what we're doing in practice. I think you can do it. A lot of times it's a mindset – getting in the mindset of being able to take the ball away on defense if you have a chance to intercept the ball and catching the ball. But it is something you can work on. It is something you can transform."
Have you seen a lot of coaches do the take-away period, or is that unique to the Ravens? (Garrett Downing)"You usually see it on defense where defensive coaches concentrate on it, but you don't ordinarily see it with an entire team like we're doing here. That's unique, and I think it's a good thing, because they are on time on offense after an interception or fumble and you have a chance to get the ball back; there's an opportunity. But you're not always in that mindset; you're just thinking about making the tackle sometimes. It's a good emphasis, and hopefully we're not in that situation too often when you're on offense and have to try to get it back, but it's a good emphasis."
A lot has been made over the years about John Harbaugh hiring former NFL head coaches to come join him. What are your impressions working with him this time around? And why do you think it's been so successful him welcoming those coaches into this environment? (Luke Jones) "You have to give him a lot of credit, because it takes a guy without a big ego to do that, and he's had a number of former head coaches to come through and even go and be head coaches again and have success. It just goes back to him. He understands what those guys bring to the table with their experience. He uses those coaches in those roles. We've had some conversations about different strategic things, whether it be the draft or what we're doing with some players. That's a little bit unique as well when the head coach will lean on some other coaches who have been in a similar situation. It's paid off for him over the years. You have to take your hat off to him for doing it. A lot of coaches wouldn't stretch that way, but he has, and it's been successful for him."
You've been matched up against offensive coordinator Marc Trestman's offenses for years. Is there anything in terms of what makes it successful, or is the fact that he has been able to adapt to different situations and different personnel that has made him successful? (Don Markus) "That's part of it. When you go to Canada and have the kind of success he had there with the rules that they have compared to the National Football League, then you come to the NFL and have the success that he had as an offensive coach, it's the ability to be able to adapt to the players that he has. I think that's one of his biggest assets. He's the type of coach who is a great communicator with the players, as far as what he's looking for and what his expectations are. Sometimes as a player, that's all you can ask for: 'Communicate to me what you're looking for and give me an opportunity to go out and get it done.' You heard Mike [Wallace] talk about that: 'The coaches being able to put me in a position to go out make plays.' Marc's offense allows that. All you have to do is look at the numbers there in Chicago. He's great at being able to utilize the talent that he has."
CB Sheldon Price is getting a lot of work with the first-team defense as CB Jimmy Smith is working back with CB Will Davis. What have you seen from him in some pretty valuable reps? (Garrett Downing)"His length is probably his biggest asset. He's one of those guys who has good size, and he runs fairly well. He's a pretty smart football player as well. He's getting a lot of first-team reps in Jimmy's absence, and he's making the most of it. The fact that he's been able to get his hands on some balls and makes some plays gives us some confidence as we are trying to develop guys in the secondary and get some depth at corner. Hopefully, Jimmy will come back and be 100 percent and play all 16 games with no injuries. But you need quality depth in this league in the secondary. Hopefully Sheldon will help provide that."
With CB Jimmy Smith out, CB Shareece Wright has been one of your top corners, maybe your top corner on the field. What have you seen from him in that role, and where have you seen him improve in the short term? (Jake Lourim) "Shareece was with us for most of the OTAs, and having the chance to watch his maturation over the last few weeks and just working on some of the technical things [has been beneficial]. He has been in a few different systems – really came on strong when I watched the tape of last season. He's kind of picked up where he left off at [last year]. He has a really good foundation of what is expected of him in this defense. He has the ability to be able to come out and have a great season because of his top-end speed along with his awareness as well. He's a very competitive guy, very conscientious. He wants to be good, and those are good ingredients – attributes when you have talent. [I'm] looking forward to watching him continue to grow and develop as a player."
Does it make more difficult for you, coming in a new system with guys not playing together, and having new guys in that secondary? Does it make it more difficult? (Bill West)"Not really this time of the year. You'd like to have everybody when training camp starts, when we start getting ready for games. This time of the year, you want to look at a lot of different guys. You want to introduce them to the system and whatever things you've tweaked along the way in the offseason. The fact that we don't have everybody working together doesn't hurt us at this point. We do have the majority of the guys working. Probably most important is seeing Lardarius [Webb] get those reps at safety, which are so important. Also having Jerraud [Powers] play some nickel, which is important for him. They play a foundation before we get to the fall."
WR Mike Wallace
On if he welcomes the challenge of being the team's new deep threat, especially with news about the injury to WR Breshad Perriman:"Yes, of course. I welcomed the challenge even before Breshad got hurt. That's my guy; I envisioned us both making plays and us both being a threat for this team. So, my plans don't change. [I] just go a little harder to get other guys ready just in case."
On how he's felt about the environment here in Baltimore:"It's been great. Great guys around here, great coaches, a lot of energy, long practices, but it's been great so far. I think I'm picking up things pretty well – I've got most of the playbook in so far – so I think I've been doing a pretty good job. I've got to clean some things up, but I like where I'm at."
On what it's going to take for him to produce some similar numbers from his days in Pittsburgh:"It's just a matter of opportunity. I was in some different situations, and those are what they are, but I'm looking for a fresh start. I'm here, and this team gives me a chance to do the things that I like to do and the things that I'm best at. We have the team, we have the play-calling to do it here – more of an aggressive play-calling style. That's why I chose to come here, because I felt like it gave me the best opportunity to make big plays like I want to do."
On why it was important for him to be here during OTAs:"It was very important. I [didn't] know any of the plays, first of all. If I'm not here, I'm not going to know any plays, because I haven't been here. And just to get the timing with the quarterbacks [was important]. Last year, we had a lot of guys hurt here. I wasn't on the team, but I know they had a lot of guys hurt, so you never know what can happen. You know, you might not be in with Ryan [Mallett]; you might not be in with Josh [Johnson] or whoever. You never know – anything can happen. So, you need to be on the same page with every quarterback, every teammate. That's the importance of being at the OTAs."
On his impressions of WR Breshad Perriman before his injury and how much he feels for him:"He's a great guy – just so humble. He talks to me all the time. But to say he's quiet, he talks a lot for a quiet guy. But he's just a humble guy, and you hate to see that happen to anybody, but especially a good guy. He's a good dude, works hard, comes out every day, tries to get better, and it's just unfortunate. You've just got to stay prayed up, and that can happen to anybody. It's not about health, this, that – anybody can come out here at any time and something could happen. So, you just feel for him and especially feel for him to not even be able to get his feet wet yet. He was just telling me last week how excited he was – he had to sit out the whole last year – how excited he was for this upcoming season. And we're still hopeful that he'll be back soon. We're going to stay prayed up and keep hope alive for him, and I think, hopefully, he'll be back at some point this season to help us."
On if he feels like he's still as fast as he was when he played in Pittsburgh, and if he thinks he's a better receiver now:"I've probably run about 10,000 post-routes and go-routes since when I first came into the league, so maybe just a step, a half a step. But I can still get it done. Do I think I'm a better player than I was before? I just try to get better every day, keep working. No matter what anybody says, just keep working, keep getting better. And I have some great guys around here. We have some good cheating [defensive backs] who are going to cheat our routes, so they [make] us better, because they know our plays and they're going to be in the right spot. So, we've got some competitive guys on the team, some great guys, and I'm having a good time."
On why he thinks he's a better overall wide receiver now:"Just going against better people every day. I think every year, it's unfortunate when you switch teams, but sometimes it makes you better, because you go against different guys, different style of guys. I went from playing against Ike Taylor and William Gay, to Brent Grimes, to Xavier Rhodes, Terence Newman, and guys who are smarter, bigger, stronger. I went against small, tall, big, fast, strong – all types of different guys. So, just playing against some great guys coming through these last three or four years, I think I've gotten better, even though numbers don't say so. I think I'll get better this year, and I'll show some people I have a lot up my sleeve, and I think I have the opportunity here on this team, have great coaches to put us in position, and great quarterbacks."* *
S Eric Weddle
On his thoughts on new secondary coach Leslie Frazier: "Coach Frazier is very detailed, very on-point – all about the little things. [He's] very coachable; he likes our input. But at the end of the day, he coaches us hard, and he expects us to be great every play. He expects us to strive to be the best in the league this year."
On his comfort level in the locker room: "It's great. I just fit right in, and I'm loving every day – being around my teammates, learning different personalities and having them learn me. But over the last eight weeks, it has been nothing but an amazing experience for myself. [I'm] working hard, earning the respect from my teammates, but also giving them what I'm all about and what my personality is – my work ethic, my leadership, everything I could bring to this team and this organization. It's a good start. Obviously there is room for improvement, but I expect great things from this team this year."
On if Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger tried to recruit him to Pittsburgh:"Big Ben and I go back a bunch of years. We have a great relationship. Obviously, we were talking throughout the whole process, and it didn't end up [working out with the Steelers]. I'm glad I'm here. I hope I get a bunch of wins against him, a bunch of interceptions, and maybe sprinkle in a couple touchdowns."
On why it's been an amazing experience with the Ravens: "Last year was rough. I'm just happy. I'm happy to go to work. I'm happy to give everything I've got for this team, for a new opportunity, a chance to prove myself. [I'm happy] for the chance to earn the respect of my teammates and coaches. It's just a fresh beginning. My wife and kids just got out here yesterday, and it's been a long eight weeks flying back and forth Thursday nights and coming back Sundays, but it was important for me to be here. Luckily, my family supports me. Now we're all here, we're entrenched in Baltimore, and we're living here now full-time. I'm just ecstatic. I'm excited for this chance to be a Raven and give everything I've got to hopefully have a chance to win a Super Bowl."
On which guys on offense have impressed him:"Mike Wallace has been outstanding. I'm trying to push him every day. We're both in the same boat. We can't have a day off; we can't have a lackadaisical day out there. We're out here to prove ourselves and add something to this team. Dennis [Pitta] looks great, [looks] fluid, makes everything that's caught in his range. [He] looks explosive, athletic. The running backs – [Justin] Forsett, [wide receivers Kamar] Aiken, [Chris] Matthews – there are some talented guys out here. Breshad [Perriman], before Friday or Thursday, or whenever that happened, [looked great]. He's been having outstanding OTAs and is just a great kid. We've got a lot of talented guys, and I'm sure they're going to build and mesh. Once we get the big quarterback [Joe Flacco] back, he'll be slinging that thing all around."
On his beard: "It looks good, doesn't it? (laughter) *It's [in the] early stages. It's coming back a lot faster than it did the first time. Right around training camp, September, it's going to be nice and full and beautiful. It will be setting the tone for the locker room. They're all just going to start growing beards, and we're going to make a run at it and make it a special season." *(laughter)
On if he sees WR Mike Wallace as a deep threat: "No question. Not only a deep threat but [Wallace] runs a great route. [He's] making plays. Not only up the field, but contested throws, those 50/50 balls that you need your wideout to make, he's making them. That's why he's here. There's a reason why he was one of the best wide receivers in the league a few years ago. Because he's talented, he can run fast, he's committed, he's eager. He's eager to prove himself, he's motivated. You get a guy like that, it makes for a great season for him and for this team."
On if he's talked with defensive coordinator Dean Pees about wearing the headset for play-calling duties: "No. (laughter) Coach Pees has to deal with me on a daily basis. I bring enough problems with how much talking I do with him. If it happens, we'll do it, but C.J. [Mosley] is ready for that leadership role. It's best to have it as the MIKE, because they are in the front seven most of the time."
G Marshal Yanda
On minicamp being mandatory and the importance of him being here: "I just try to take care of my body. I'm getting to be an older player. Obviously, I'm here now, ready to work, in shape. [I'm] feeling good, just ready to get better, knock the rust off and keep playing at a high level."
On how comfortable he is with the depth of the O-line to withstand the loss of former Ravens G Kelechi Osemele: "It looks like Ozzie [Newsome] did a good job of bringing in some good guys. They usually do that, and they're going to fill those holes. I feel like we have the right guys to do it. Everyone is going to work hard toward that goal, whether it's John [Urschel], whether it's a young kid. We'll find out during training camp."
On his first impressions of rookie T Ronnie Stanley: "I've just heard from other guys that have been around the building a little bit longer, and they like him. He keeps his mouth quiet and goes about his business. He seems like he's a good kid, a hardworking guy, and I've heard nothing but good things about him from guys around the locker room."
On what his advice would be to T Ronnie Stanley to become a perennially great player: "To just keep his head down when he's a young player. I think of C.J. Mosley – when he came in, he just kept his head down and worked hard every day. [He] tried to stack days and get better and not worry about anything else outside of this building. Just work on football every day, get better every day and that's about it."
On when procedure of getting the offensive line in place starts: "I think it is year-round. I think it starts with everybody year-round, but obviously, right now and training camp is when it really starts. We'll put the pads on and start building the team physically. Everybody will be ready to go and be working hard. We'll kind of mold that group as we go and day-by-day. We will all stack days together and keep building momentum as the days go on. [We'll] just keep practicing."
On if it feels different practicing without QB Joe Flacco:"Yes it definitely is. You get so used to having Joe around, and it's just different with Ryan [Mallett] out there. But that is part of football; injuries happen, and we know that he will be out there come training camp. We understand that, and we'll just keep working hard and improving on what we can improve on right now."
On how bad he feels for WR Breshad Perriman: "That's a really tough deal for a young player to have two injuries back-to-back without actually getting back out on the field. He hasn't been out on the field really, yet. I feel for him, and that's a tough part of this business. It's physical, it's rough, and guys get hurt. We all want him out there, and we want to see what he's got. I know he wants to prove himself as well. We're pulling for him. Hopefully he'll be back as soon as possible. [Hopefully] he can stay healthy and start getting his feet in the ground and have some fun and some success."