Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
What have you seen from Richie Leone, the [rookie] free agent punter you've brought in? What does he bring to the table? (Ryan Mink) "Richie is a talented young man. You can see that he has the build of an NFL punter. He has long limbs, and he has a powerful leg. He proved that in college. He's getting better at some of the things we're trying to help him with. There are a lot of things he needs to continue to get batter at. But this is a really good camp for him; it's an opportunity for him to work on things when the rush isn't on, when you have a lot of time, and the game is not pressing us. When you come out here and work for two hours, you get a lot done, and it's been a lot of fun."
Following a Pro Bowl season, is there something specific from Justin Tucker's game that you would like to see and have him work on? (Jamison Hensley) "I think the thing we all recognize is that when you're a professional, the journey never stops. You don't ever arrive. You're continuing to try to improve all aspects of your game. Justin has been doing that. The other part is just making sure that [with] the areas where you've been strong, you don't all off. That's the other thing he has been doing."
**What has Sam Koch been doing this season to improve? *(Aaron Wilson) *"Each year is a new year. I think what we've been able to do during the course of these OTAs and football schools is to give Sam an opportunity to go back and refine his game, much like we talked about with Justin. The things we've been working on are wide-ranging. One of the things that's really been fun is we've been able to have two punters out here, which we haven't had for a while. We've been able to go back and forth. Just like it is for anybody, the opportunity to compete against anyone on a daily basis is always more energizing. I think that Sam has punted well. We've had really good practices, and it's been a lot of fun so far."
**How big is it to have the same operation with the snapper [Morgan Cox] and holder [Sam Koch] that you've had for a few years? *(Aaron Wilson) *"It's desirable. You know that in this league, change is a constant, so you're trying to make things as stable as you can. For Justin, for example, it's a good opportunity for him to have someone else [Richie Leone] hold for him, because he's so used to Sam. You hope nothing ever happens during the course of a season, but if somebody else has to hold – like if Tyrod [Taylor] has to hold or if somebody else has to go in and hold – he has to get used to making kicks with someone else other than Sam holding the ball. Richie has been getting a lot of good reps with him, and that's a good opportunity for him to see a ball that's not exactly the same way that Sam holds it; it's a way that he can improve at the same time."
Most people don't learn the long snapper's name until he messes up, typically. How much of a luxury is it to have a person like Morgan [Cox] that you can depend on? (Jamison Hensley) "It's very important. Perhaps the fan watching the game won't know him, but I trust you, all the specialists around the league – the guys playing special teams – know where the good snappers are. And it's not just the snap; it's also in punt particulars. It's the protection in being able to block. Morgan has been really solid for us. The thing that I've liked about Morgan is over the last couple years, you always see improvement in him. Last year, his protection was much better than it was the year before. And, his accuracy has been honed down on field goals where it's at a point now where we don't have to move the ball around much. It's a much easier ball to hold than it was when he first arrived."
Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak
Opening statement:"I just want to tell everybody how happy I am to be here. It's very exciting right now. We're very challenged trying to teach a new system. We've got some new players – those types of things going on. I have two young coaches from the offensive side of the ball in Thomas [Hammock] and Bobby [Engram]. We're very challenged right now as a group, but the work has been great. These guys really work their tail off. John [Harbaugh], it's impressive the way this football team works. So far, so good. We're making progress and need to keep going. We have a week-and-a-half here [and] we have to get the most out of that. But it's been good."
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees gave you quite the compliment saying that your scheme is causing his guys on defense a lot of headaches… (Joe Platania)"Well, the feeling is mutual. I can tell you that."
As far as your own guys, how well do you feel they are assimilating what you're doing? (Joe Platania)"I think it's been really good. I think that's been my challenge right now as a coach – to watch. I'm throwing the kitchen sink at them, and then I have to kind of watch and see what sticks and what they do best. When we come back for camp, I'll probably have to cut some things down – those types of things – but they've been very receptive. We have plenty of time from a teaching standpoint, plenty of time on the field. The key thing is their work habits. We've had almost everybody here every day. That's been very, very positive, and Joe [Flacco] is ahead of everybody on the curve from that standpoint, which he needs to be. I like what's happening right now. I'm just taking it a day at a time, but I think we're building something. The greatest thing is the work habits are awesome. That's all you can ask for as a coach."
From a personnel standpoint, do you feel like there is some familiarity with the type of players that you have? (Aaron Wilson)"Yes. Are you talking about scheme-wise? In any scheme you want guys that can play hard, and I'll tell you that John [Harbaugh] has his guys play hard and they work hard. We get some reps involved in practice and we're getting a lot to teach off of as a group. Up front they've really responded to what we do. [Kelechi Osemele] has really responded. Jeremy [Zuttah] has been a great addition to what we're doing – obviously we're a zone scheme. Then we have some challenges going on trying to catch Steve [Smith, Sr.] up with the new offense, Torrey [Smith], yet there are a few people in each place that kind of know the way I've done things and how I do things. Jacoby [Jones] has been a big asset with Dennis [Pitta], and Justin [Forsett] has been a big asset with Ray [Rice]. I think the way things got situated before we got to work has been a big positive."
How has Joe Flacco's footwork come along with his progression in the new offense? (Glenn Younes)"He's been good. We teach to read with your feet. Obviously, you're going to read with your eyes, but we teach to read with your feet. There are certain things going on; the ball has to get going. I'm very impressed with Joe. A big guy … I knew all those things. I knew he had a big arm, but I had no idea how good of an athlete he is. [He is] a very good athlete. The things we like to do, [moving] around, the zone-pass schemes that we like to run, I think fit to a lot of his strengths. We just need to continue to get better at them. But his progress and where he's at right now, I couldn't be happier."
How much of a benefit is it to have all these guys attending voluntary workouts? (Jerry Coleman)"It's huge, and that speaks for the organization. The guys want to be here. The way they run things, the professional way that the Ravens do things, the way John [Harbaugh] has his practices set up and treats these guys like men – they respond to it. I've always known from the outside looking in how tough this football team was and how hard they work and how hard they play. I'm proud to be a part of it now. I love the way we go about our business each and every day, and for me as a coach, that's what you want to be a part of."
How are Ryan Jensen and Rick Wagner coming along at right tackle? (Matt Zenitz)"You asked me about Rick Wagner? Well [Ryan] Jensen has played outside and inside, so we've bounced him around. That's been a little about need with some of the things that are going on. He's settled down a bit and played guard the last couple days. To me, Ricky has been – I don't want to say he's a surprise, because I expected him to play well – but I think we put a lot on his plate early walking in here as a starter, new scheme and those types of things. He has responded and hasn't missed a rep. He plays very hard in what we're doing, so we just have to keep going. But I've been very pleased with Ricky."
What has Steve Smith, Sr. done these last few weeks and how is he looking? (Matt Zenitz)"Boy, I watched him today, and I'll tell you it was his best day with me out here. And it's just because each day is getting more comfortable with what we're doing. He's just so competitive. He brings an edge to practice all the time. He challenges people, as far as how you play and how you go about doing [your work]. He's challenged coaches, too. Every good offense that I've been around, I've had a few of those guys saying, 'Get me the ball, coach!' and that's a good thing, and that's what you want. He works to get the ball, so that's what's impressive to me."
How challenging is it to establish a comfort level for these guys out there by not throwing too much at them? (Jamison Hensley)"You're right. That's my challenge right now. It really is – finding out what we do best and making sure I don't overload them. But I did think it was very important that we challenge them mentally as well as physically, especially throughout the course of OTAs. I told them that. I said, 'Guys, I'm going to throw a lot at you. We need to go make some mistakes, but let's go make them hard. We'll figure it out and make sure on opening day we're doing what we do best.' I think that's been important, and they've responded to that."
You mentioned that Joe Flacco is so far ahead. Is that from an athletic standpoint or is that in his knowledge of the offense?* (Garrett Downing)*"I think he worked his tail off when he was away from me. With the way the rules are set up, we tried to get Joe as much information as we could so he could study, and when it was time to go to work we could get our hands on him and do those types of things. It was obvious when he came in how hard he had worked at what he was doing. He's way ahead of the guys from that standpoint. Like I also said, there are a few guys within the system that know our system that are helping other guys along, but the important thing is that [Flacco] be ahead of everybody, and he's done that."
With regards to Owen Daniels, physically, now that he's healthy, how does he look to you? (Aaron Wilson)"When O.D. [Daniels] is on the field, when he's been healthy, he's been very productive in this league. When you have [Daniels] and Dennis [Pitta], you get balance. That's one of the great things going on right now. We have a chance to be very balanced offensively – outside, inside with those two guys. We'll see what happens."
What does Kyle Juszczyk bring to the table for your type of offense? (Aaron Wilson)"I've been very impressed with Kyle. We haven't put the pads on yet – so fullbacks get judged when you put those pads on – but he reminds me a lot of a kid I had for a couple of years, James Casey. He played really well for me. He's athletic and can make some plays down the field. I like fullbacks that can run, because there's such a separation between them and the tailbacks. 'Juice' has responded well. Picking up Shaun [Chapas], who's a lot like 'Juice' as an athlete, that's been a plus, too."
How excited are you to see Joe Flacco's arm strength and how much better does it make your offense? (Glenn Younes)"I knew it was good, but I had no idea just how good it was. The big ball is always in play with Joe, and that keeps people working down the field – receivers, everybody [is] working. This league is about making big plays. It's hard [when you go] three or four yards a pop to do it. You have to make some big plays, and Joe gives you the ability to do that."
That helps you on the quicks, too? (Glenn Younes)"There's not a throw Joe can't make. You don't see balls get knocked down, because he's such a big guy [with] such a high release. Like I said, I've been very impressed."
What was the process with teaching Joe Flacco the offense? (Matt Zenitz)"All we could do is just get as much information in his hands as we could possibly get, and he was the one doing all the work. But learning terminology – and where I'm at with Joe right now – we're actually trying to get to the point where [I can say], 'OK, Joe. You've got it all. Tell me what you really feel good about.' So, I'm making sure we're going out working on the things he doesn't feel like, 'Hey, I've got that,' yet. I'm trying to get him to that point before we get into the break mode here in a couple weeks."
Did you send him the old Houston tapes, too? Was that part of the process? (Matt Zenitz)"If it can go on an iPad, it's on here. We're just trying to do everything we can to make him comfortable and let our players have a chance when they're not with us coaches, to be able to have discipline and study on their own, and Joe's done that."
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
Would you say you're further ahead at this point because the defense had less turnover this year versus a lot of turnover in recent years? (Ryan Mink)"Maybe a little. We had an awful lot of guys here for football school. We had a really good turnout – that helps, too. By the time we got done with that, going into OTAs, we had kind of been through everything and then repeating everything, and now we're adding a few more things. So maybe [we're ahead] slightly. Maybe a little bit."
How has Darian Stewart been picking up the defense? (Garrett Downing)"He's picking it up really well. Talking to him early on, it was a lot different than what he had been accustomed to, but he's picked it up really well. He's a smart football player, very conscientious, great in the classroom. I think he's picking it up just fine. I'm pleased with where he is right now."
Do you view Stewart as a viable option as a starter at strong safety? (Matt Zenitz) "There's still a lot of competition out there. I think we've just got to wait and let it sort itself out through minicamp and then through training camp when we come back. We're a long way from naming the guys that are the starters, but I feel good about the guys that are back there. I think they're working hard. I think we have the right guys. I just think now it's a matter of who beats who out – who shows up during the preseason a little more than anybody else. Right now, I feel good about all those guys back there."
This season, Steve Spagnuolo is working as the new secondary/assistant head coach. How has that been working out for you guys? (Glenn Younes)"Steve is a great coach – does a great job there with the secondary. He has a little background with [Darian Stewart], too. That helps a little bit. But, having Steve around has been good. He's a very knowledgeable guy, very good coach, very good secondary coach, very good attention to detail – just like all of the coaches. I feel good about the whole defensive staff – not just Steve – all of them. We've got a great staff. We have a lot of fun – play hard, work hard. I can't say enough good things about all of them."
What are the pros and cons of getting so much younger on defense?* (Jamison Hensley)"I really noticed it the other day. Somebody mentioned it – maybe it was John [Harbaugh] – we were talking about the depth chart, and we looked up there, and boy, there were a lot of guys that are young. If I remember right, somebody said that there were only two guys on defense that were starters in the Super Bowl, I think. There are always goods and bads. When you have the [roster] turnover, there's always a little bit of time for those guys to develop, but also, just like every team goes through it, you can't keep the same guys forever. We went through it in New England, when we started getting a little older, and we had to transition, and [it's the] same thing here. The good thing about these young guys is that they've all come in and contributed. Like we talked about earlier, I think the guys that have been here – we don't have as much turnover this year – even though they are young guys … It's like having Matt Elam back for a second season, and really having Art Brown – when he came in, he was hurt and didn't really get to do a whole lot – having him out here the whole time. All those young guys have really been able to compete, plus the guys that we've drafted. I think it's going to be great competition. I think it's only going to get better."* **
How is the defense handling what Gary Kubiak's offense is doing in practice? (Joe Platania)"He's giving us a lot now. We've got a really good offense, and it's really got a lot of stuff and it really challenges us. It's always hard to tell in OTAs, the run-game part of it. It's really not fair to either team – offense or defense. We may run through and make a tackle that a guy could've cut-blocked the guy that he wouldn't do during [OTAs] that he might do during a game. On the same token, our guys are trying to back off and not hit Ray Rice when we might have been able to tackle him. The run game is always hard to evaluate in OTAs. The only way you're going to do that is in training camp. All we can do is watch the film, make sure our guys are in the right spots, playing square, know their responsibilities, and then go from there. We're trying like heck not to be on the ground, not to get anybody hurt, not to get anybody hit – we're doing everything by the rules. And that's what the rules are there for, so we don't have a bunch of contact in OTAs. You can evaluate the passing game. The thing about the passing game is that, like everything in OTAs, I'm going to put stuff in [to the practice game plan], but not necessarily to beat coach Kubiak's offense. We don't play us. I've got to put stuff in to install – and there are times we'll install something that's really not going to be very good against a certain play, and I'm sure that he installs things on offense that may not be good against a certain defense – but you've got to get them installed. You can't go out there and just practice what they're going to give us, because we don't play them. We've got to get all this in, so sometimes it looks pretty, and sometimes it doesn't look so pretty. What we've got to do when we watch the film is evaluate, 'Are we doing the right thing?' Just look at the call. 'Are we doing the right thing?' Don't base it necessarily on the route. The route might be a route that beats that coverage, not over the top, ever, but maybe a short route that is open that it's a good route against that coverage. But, you've got to evaluate it that way, and not not evaluate it because they completed a pass."
From the other side of the ball, how different does the offense look? (John Eisenberg)"A lot. A lot. I'll tell you what – I love working with Gary. I love working with the guy. He's the most cooperative … I like Jim [Caldwell], I like Cam [Cameron], it's nothing negative towards them, but I really like working with Gary. It's a very multiple … I always thought it was at Houston, I always thought it was at Denver. I go back and long time coaching against him and this offense when I was at New England, and he was at Denver, and then when he was in Houston and us here. It's got a lot of dag-gone weapons, and he knows how to use them. He's given us a lot of headaches and a lot of things for us to talk about as a defensive staff, which is good. That's what you want coming out of OTAs, saying, 'OK, how can we tweak this? How can we make this better?'"
How excited are you with the versatility and youth along the defensive line? (Glenn Younes)"I'm very excited. Here's the thing about it – what C.B. [defensive line coach Clarence Brooks] does really well with all those guys – they all know how to play multiple positions. It's not like, 'OK, you're a nose guard, and that's all you can play, or a three-technique, and that's all you can play.' Those guys have to learn all three, and they have to do it in OTAs. What's really good about that is we can then assess what they're maybe best at, and then we can put them there. But if something happens during the course of a game – you only get to dress about five of them – if something happens to somebody, you have some versatility, plus the fact that when they learn all the positions, they learn the defense. They aren't just tunnel vision on one position; they know all three of them. Now they kind of learn a little bit more of the concept of the whole defense."
How much has the team speed improved? (Jamison Hensley)"I think it's improved a lot. It looks like it out here in OTAs, but again, we've got to see it when all the pads are on. That's going to be the time to really assess it. But, I really do believe that we've gotten faster. It sure looks like it, anyhow. I'm really hopeful of that. I think it's going to show that it's true, but we have a long way to go. We'll find out when the pads come on and in the first preseason game."
What are your impressions of Steve Smith, Sr. and just what he's done with the offense? And also Arthur Brown, how have you seen him come along the past couple weeks? (Matt Zenitz)"I'll go Art Brown first: Art Brown has improved light years from a year ago – light years. This guy has really had a great camp. He still has a moment like all of them do, but he is so improved from a year ago. I'm really, really excited about him. Steve Smith – I could use some adjectives – he is a pain, in a good way. (laughter) First thing I told him, I just went up and touched him, because I saw him and [said], 'I just want to be the first defensive back I've coached that ever touched you.' (laughter) I told him a year ago, whenever we played him in the preseason, the first thing I told the DBs in the room was, 'Look, don't get him mad. He plays a lot harder when he's mad. Just leave him alone. Let a sleeping dog lay.' The guy is a heck of a player. He's made some grabs out here. He's a tough guy. He's everything advertised. I'm glad he's on our team."
WR Torrey Smith
On his first impressions of Gary Kubiak's offense:"I love it. Football is football, and there are a lot of concepts that we've had before that we understand, but it's kind of his way of going about it. Even something as simple as the route running, he likes to break down a little bit more rather than speed cutting a lot, which is what we did last year. It's been working well. Guys have been working hard, we're getting it down, and that's really all we can ask for at this point."
On whether he feels like the field could open up for him a little bit more this year with some added personnel: "I think it's just the whole process. I tell you all the time: I'm a receiver for the Ravens, and I do a little bit of everything. Same for Steve [Smith, Sr.], and it helps having guys like [Dennis] Pitta and Owen [Daniels] and Marlon [Brown] in the middle. It's going to help us all out, so I'm just a small piece of the puzzle."
On if he can describe WR Steve Smith, Sr.'s intensity in practice:"You definitely see the fire. I've known Steve for a couple of years now, but to actually play with him and see the way he works, he takes everything serious, he's very passionate and there are some people … I guess if you're not used to a guy who's passionate about his job, it comes off as raunchy, but it fits here. There are plenty of guys like that here. He's perfect for us, and we're glad he's here."
On if Steve Smith, Sr. feels like a coach at practice:"Yes, he's always pulling me aside, telling me something even if I already knew it. *(laughter) *He'll tell you, 'Man, I'm going to be on you. I'm going to be on you.' You can never be good enough. And I appreciate that. I've been lucky. I've been able to play the game around two of the best wide receivers in the past 15 years, just to play around two great vets like that … And Steve is completely different than Anquan [Boldin], and I'm picking his brain and learning, and he's a great teacher as well."
On what his learning curve has been with the new offense:"I understand football, so it's not really hard. The biggest thing is remembering the terminology. It's a lot faster today than it was yesterday, and obviously, a few weeks ago. I think when it's all said and done, when [training] camp comes and minicamp next week, I think we'll be fine."
On what has been different about this new offense:"Football is football to me. I guess there are some little 'ins' and 'outs'. We tried to run a zone run scheme last year, and just the way Kubiak is that guy when it comes to this offense … So, the way he has installed it and the way he has coached it, it does look different than last year. I don't know if that's because everyone understands it more with a year in, but it does look a lot better than it did last year."
On what his expectations are heading into his fourth season:"Win a Super Bowl again. It's that simple to me."
On what he has seen out of QB Joe Flacco in the past few weeks:"Joe is the same old Joe. We have a brand new offense, and the way he goes about it you can't tell if he's excited about it or if he hates it. *(laughter) *That's Joe. But like coach [Kubiak] said, he understands it, he's helping put us in the right place. When you ask him questions, he always knows the answer, and that's a credit to him working hard to get it done."
On how Kubiak's style is different from former offensive coordinators Cam Cameron and Jim Caldwell:"They've all been pretty laid back. To be around [Kubiak], he's southern laid back with that Texas accent. *(laughter) *But he's done it before. He knows what it's supposed to look like. He's tough on you, but he respects you. He's a great coach, he gets you right away, and I think that we responded to him well."