Special Teams Coordinator Chris Horton
Opening statement: "Good morning. [It's] good to see everyone. Just to start with the Saints recap, I thought our guys played hard. It was a good opportunity for us to go out there, face another team and just kind of figure out where we are as a special teams unit. Quite honestly, I think we're on the right track. I think we have a lot of things that we can continue to build on, and we will. Moving forward this week in Carolina, it's going to be another great opportunity for us to go out and practice against a team, and really just hone-in on our fundamentals and do the things in which we want to get done in order for us to be a good special teams unit. Questions?"
What did you think of OLB Odafe Oweh as a gunner? (Ryan Mink) "The kid is special. He has a lot of talent. He has a lot of speed. When I was the [special teams] assistant … He just kind of reminded me of a couple of those bigger guys that we used to have out there with good, long speed. They were able to get off the line of scrimmage and get down there and cover punts. He showed up in the game, and I think we'll just continue to give him reps and see how he develops out there."
There were a couple of long field goals by K Jake Verity out there. Is he just another one of these guys that as a group you kind of find and develop? (Jamison Hensley) "Anytime we get specialists in here, it's our job to develop those guys. Again, I think [special teams] Coach Randy [Brown] does a great job of identifying those guys. Jake [Verity], I've said it before, he's had a really good camp. He's been kicking the ball well. He's been doing a lot of good things. His kickoffs are outstanding. That's just to be said about all our guys. When they come in here, they understand what's at stake for the guys that are here. We're talking Sam [Koch], Justin [Tucker] and Nick [Moore], those guys understand that they have a job to do. For the younger guys that we bring in, Johnny [Townsend] and Jake, those guys understand that they're not only competing here, but they're trying to get a job somewhere else. I think if they go out and produce like they did Saturday night, there will be some teams that will be eyeing those guys. So again, credit to Jake [and] credit to Randy, really, just getting him to a spot where he needs to be. Obviously, he has a lot more growing to do still."
Former special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg talked about how he always evaluated every kicker, every snapper – things like that. What is it about K Jake Verity that had you guys bring him in initially? What did you like from him? (Kyle Barber) "Really what it came down to was not being able to go out and work guys out. We kind of … [Special teams coach] Randy [Brown] has his list of guys that he kind of looks at. He spends a lot of time diving into the details – how is that guy kicking? What's his technique look like? Is this a guy that we can get to kick the football the way we want to? So, [Jake Verity] was that guy for us this year. He came in here, and, like I said, he's doing a great job."
Defensive Coordinator Don Martindale
Opening statement: "I'm really pleased with the first preseason game. I talked to the guys when we met last night and reviewed the game a little bit. The coaches watched tape with them, obviously, earlier. But the six takeaways stand out; the second half, no points; the big stop to close the game. I was overall pleased with our tackling. If you think back to all the first preseason games, usually tackling is an issue and that's the first thing we sit here and talk about. We had a few more [missed tackles] than we wanted, but it wasn't bad at all. I think we had like five missed tackles. So, I really loved our effort, and I think that's part of the takeaways. It's been a mandate since I've been here from 'Harbs' [head coach John Harbaugh] – is we're going to run to the football. When you run to the football, good things happen, which you all saw Saturday night. So, with that, I'll open it up to questions."
I know you don't give injury updates, but is it still tough to see CB Marlon Humphrey go down in practice? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I didn't actually see him go down; I was [doing] another thing. But it's tough when any player goes down. You never want to see that, and like [you said], John [Harbaugh] talks about the injuries. I haven't even found out yet what happened exactly."
What are your thoughts about this new rule that you can't block below the waist when contact occurs beyond five yards on either side of the line of scrimmage and more than two yards outside of either offensive tackle? (David Andrade) "I personally like it, because it's finally something for the defensive guys outside. You're talking about when they get outside the tackle blocks? The cut blocks out there, outside the tackle box? I like it, so we can show off our athleticism and make them miss."
How good was it to see OLB Odafe Oweh, and that athleticism that we've all seen in practice, in game? (Ryan Mink) "'The Big Rook.' I loved it. I was really pleased. I was really pleased with him. I tell you guys this every time, he's a humble kid, he works hard. His teammates … You can tell [with] rookies, when they get here, if they have a chance to help us, the vets get with them right away, which they have, and also, they really enjoy working with him when he's humble, and he's trying to learn, and nothing is too big for him. It's just been a great experience, with having him here in camp."
ILB Patrick Queen made some outstanding plays early. It looks like he really benefited from having some more time this offseason. (Kirk McEwen) "Yes, I think that's well-documented – that he played fast. The thing I was talking to him about today is he needs to take the next step of playing faster longer, because – I think everybody sees it – [when] he gets rolling, he'll get tired early. Now, they're not going to be in game shape yet, but that's the next step he has to take. He understands the standard and where the bar is at with the MIKE [middle] linebacker in the Ravens organization and the history of it. So, I was really happy for him and Malik [Harrison]. Malik delivered some big hits, and that's his calling card. He knocks people back when he hits, and that whole room, it's a good room."
You talked about the need to be fast on defense with the way the game is played now. It does seem like the league gets faster and faster every year. From a league-wide, broader perspective, where do you think that sort of started? What are the reasons why speed is such an integral part of the game now and such a big emphasis? (Adam Kilgore) "I think that it started with [football coach, executive and owner] Al Davis. He was always … Where he grew up in Brooklyn, he saw the Brooklyn Dodgers, back in the day, and the Yankees, as baseball fans, and all those guys, way back when, were big, strong and fast compared to other baseball teams. So, he told me that that's what he said when I started coaching football, and if I ever owned a team, that's what I wanted to do. Now, down the road, where it's expanded to is it's such a space game now. There are so many spread-out formations. You all see it; everybody talks about the 'spread offense,' which I call the 'chuck and duck.' But that's the fad right now. No one – rarely – besides us, gets into the two backs, two tight end formations very much anymore, because it's not sexy. But it sure does work, because half the time, now, I know, especially in college, people don't even know how to line up to that stuff anymore – of football the way we used to see it. But I think it's just because the spread offenses and how people are trying to attack you more, you try to get as much speed on the field as you can – like Kansas City."
With a couple injuries to the cornerback position, CB Anthony Averett is a guy that's stepping up. What have you seen out of him at camp? (Jamison Hensley) "He's one of my favorites. I said in front of the defense last night, to me, he's the third-best corner we have on the team, and I think the kid has All-Pro talent. I tell him that every day, and he's practicing that way this year. I mean, you're really seeing everything go from the practice field to games now, and you can just see his confidence build. I tell everybody, when I start talking about him [that] it doesn't matter who he's covering – to him – he just goes and covers them, and that's what you like about your corners."
You've told us that you don't care that much about sacks and that there are other stats – especially with college pass rushers you brought in – we've asked about OLB Odafe Oweh, but with OLB Daelin Hayes, three sacks was his season high at Notre Dame, but he looks like a natural pass rusher here. Is the guy that you saw on tape at Notre Dame look a lot like the guy who is out here? (Jonas Shaffer) "Yes, he's a physical player. He needs to play faster. If you really look at it, you can see [with] the rookies, some of them are still thinking while they're playing, and they haven't turned it loose and gone full speed yet, because it's just not (snapping his fingers) that natural to them yet. But it will be, and we've got 27 days to get them there. We're excited about this rookie class. All of them are going to help us out."
What have you seen from CB Chris Westry and S Ar'Darius Washington – two guys who look like they're pushing, trying to make the roster? (Luke Jones) "Right. With 'AD' [Ar'Darius Washington], he is just a productive football player. He's instinctive; he's around the football. He had a really good practice today. He's starting to understand the system better and how to disguise and how to do different things, and I think he's going to be fun to watch in the next two games. Where it all works out, I don't know. Roster-wise, that's [executive vice president & general manager] Eric [DeCosta] and 'Harbs' [head coach John Harbaugh].
"With [Chris] Westry, a guy that's that big and that long and that fast … I don't know how we got him here, but God bless Eric [DeCosta] for doing it. I mean, he's really come on. He had the foolish penalty, [and] what I explained to him was [that] 'Captain Obvious' can see – third-and-long – we can't afford that. All the Pop Warner, all those points … But the thing that I told him that pissed me off was you're sending 10 guys back out there that didn't need to be back there on the field. That was our time to … And you get in those situations where you're playing games, and guys will have different reactions. He's playing special teams; he's playing corner. He said, 'I don't know why I did it.' I thought he said, 'I don't have an answer for you, except it was bad.' I said, 'Yeah.' But he'll learn from it. He's learned from it."
What do you think of the new taunting rules, and do you think they're being too strictly enforced? (Kyle Barber) "No, no. They always talk about what they're going to enforce – point of emphasis and all that – and it gets carried away. I think let's just play football. So, it's the same thing I always tell our players – 'We don't make the rules; we just play by them.' And for me, standing there is … I don't think [NFL commissioner] Roger Goodell is going to call and say, 'Hey, stop the game, 'Wink' is pissed. He didn't like that call.' (laughter) I haven't seen it yet." (laughter)
Your chain was kind of making circles on social media after the game. Can you talk about the origin? Have you always been a chain guy? (Ryan Mink) "I've always had a chain. Being a grandpa now, I've always kept it hidden, and Tavon [Young] told me, he said, 'You've got to pop your chain out. You've got to let it drip, 'Wink,' and I said, 'Alright, we get two takeaways, let it drip.' I guarantee you the chain will be out again Saturday night, because if that's what gets turnovers, I'll do anything." (laughter)
Is there a sliding scale for the more turnovers, the drippier it gets? (Jonas Shaffer) (laughter) "Well, yes, there sure is. More turnovers – I'll start putting some big things on the end of it here. (laughter) No, it's just something the players were having fun with. So, you know me; I'll do anything to get them playing."
Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman
Opening statement: "Good morning, everybody. At about this time of training camp, you start to lose track of if it's morning, afternoon, [or] night. So, one foot in front of the other; we're getting a lot done. I really feel like we're starting to make some really good progress, and I think we're where we need to be in a lot of areas. So, we just have to keep working. Guys are working hard. The staff is working really hard. [I'm] really proud of everybody. Guys that aren't out there are working hard to get back out there, which is very important as well. So, [I'm] looking forward to going down to Carolina and getting some good work in against a different style of defense, and then get into the second preseason game. Any questions?"
With QB Tyler Huntley, it's your second year now with him. What do you like the most? What stands out when you look at him? (Jamison Hensley) "Tyler [Huntley] is a … He has a great attitude. He's very competitive. He has a strong arm. He's athletic. He's fast. He's a great guy. He's the kind of guy you want behind center. Tyler has won a lot of football games. Going back, I think he and Lamar [Jackson] played against each other in high school. He won a lot of football games in college, so that makes him a winner. Really, the No. 1 thing of a quarterback is the win-loss column. That's the stat that matters the most, and he's been very impressive in his career. It's really a credit to him, and I think he's a great fit for us."
We saw last year just how effective T Orlando Brown Jr. was in some of those tackle pulls up the middle. You know how athletic T Ronnie Stanley is when he's full strength. Have you thought at all about what he could be in terms of the kind of stuff you phased in more and more in the second half of last season? (Jonas Shaffer) "Who's that? Ronnie [Stanley]?" (Reporter: "Yes.") "Oh, for sure. One of the reasons I put some of that stuff in was because of Ronnie and his athleticism. So, yes; it's a really natural fit. Ronnie can do it all, really. He's really coming along, and he gives us a lot of flexibility with what we can do. 'Big Al' [Alejandro Villanueva], he can pull pretty well, too. He can move pretty well. So, we'll pull anybody – just in case you were wondering."
You talked about guys kind of working their way back, and we're starting to see that with the offensive line. How important is it to you to have a certain group together for as long as possible before the season? (Childs Walker) "That's a really good question, because where you're going is the right place to go. The more we can get continuity there from now … We're good right now, but we need to start pushing for that continuity. Now is about the time when you really look at the calendar and [see] where we're at. The more time we can get those guys together, communicating together [and] getting a feel for each other, it's tangible. It's real, and the more of that, the better off we'll be."
If you don't mind a bigger picture question, it seems like every year, there is more and more speed and more and more faster players across the board at every position. Do you feel like speed is more integral and more emphasized in the league now? If so, what are some how's and why's of how people view it? (Adam Kilgore) "It's team-to-team, and it's position-to-position. There are some teams [that with] their scheme, they really prefer really fast linebackers. Some teams still like the big, physical thumpers. Trends come, and trends go. There have always been really fast people. Probably, on some teams, the emphasis is greater, because certain defensive schemes especially came into vogue that people emulated. But speed is a trait that has been around forever. It's something you love to have, but it's not the end-all be-all, either. So, I can give a lot of really good examples of guys that weren't lightning-fast, but really, really good football players. That's really what we look for – what can a guy do well? Some guys are more possession receivers or tight ends, [and] that's OK. That's OK. But when you have speed, you use speed. We have some really fast guys, too. So, we'll implement it."
You mentioned those defensive schemes. Do you mean Tampa 2 and things like that? (Adam Kilgore) "Yes. Yes, definitely. Some of the 4-3 schemes that favor smaller, faster guys just to fit their scheme as opposed to a big two-gapping 3-4. They're both good defenses. They both work; it's just whatever flavor works for you."
Back to the offensive line with the continuity, does that mean you'd like to settle on your starting left guard sooner as opposed to later? Could you just talk about that competition and where it stands now? (Ryan Mink) "It's wide open. It's really wide open. A lot of guys could occupy that spot, so we're going to keep working through all the different scenarios. It's a long way from being in concrete, but we're definitely moving forward [and] making progress as best we can. When you really look at it from our standpoint, nobody has really grabbed it just yet. There's merit for everybody at this point. So, we'll see who keeps stepping forward [and] who keeps stepping up. It's a big thing, though. The faster we can get that done, the better. But whenever it happens, we'll make it work."
How do you see your offense performing under center? (David Andrade) "[There are] certain things we're going to do under center. We're going to run the football and play-action and whatnot. So far, so good, [but] we just have to keep working at it. People will look at us and say, 'OK, when they're under center, here's what we can expect. When they're not, this is what [we] can expect.' So, we want to be multiple when we do it; we don't want to be predictable. But the quarterbacks are doing a nice job with it."
With RB J.K. Dobbins, what is it with him as a player, what traits does he bring that are really unique and make him so dynamic? (Ryan Mink) "I think he's a natural football player. He has good instincts. He's fast. He plays with leverage and power. He has a really competitive nature which you want out of a running back. He runs the ball hard. A guy that runs the ball hard, is fast, has good vision and can see holes – we just defined a running back there. So, he's a young guy [and he's] still working on a lot of things, especially when he doesn't have the ball in his hands. That's the biggest difference between college and NFL [with] playing running back."
What are some of the advantages of joint practices, more specifically with this Carolina Panthers team? (Kyle Barber) "I think it's really opportune to go against somebody other than yourself, at some point. It's a great opportunity to see different personnel, different technique [and] different scheme. Maybe they do something … Over the course of a football season, we're going to see everything you can possibly see in terms of defensive structure, technique, speed, stout, two-gap, working the edges, etc. [and] different coverage techniques. So, it really helps prepare you for the season, and it breaks up camp, too."
You've had some offensive linemen come and go. I think you have four or five receivers not practicing. When you sit down with head coach John Harbaugh and decide the plans for who plays in the preseason games, how much do those factors impact whether QB Lamar Jackson plays in that game? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I would say that's [head coach] John's [Harbaugh] call. I'd say it is a factor, but not the factor. Lamar [Jackson] is making good progress, and I really like where he's at right now. But that decision is made somewhat independently."