Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "I hope everybody had a great summer. Everybody good? [I see] a lot of tans, a lot of smiles. We had a good summer, as well, as a family, and a lot of the players had a lot of big events – guys having kids and getting married, things like that. But [they were] also working hard, which is evident so far by what we've seen. The guys look like they're in great shape, [but] we'll know more tomorrow, which is the official reporting day, and we'll see where we're at. But I feel good about our team in that way, and we've had some good days with the rookies here. They've done a nice job, and they're ready for a regular training camp practice. So, we just go from here."
How much progress have you seen from RB Bernard Pierce and G/T Jah Reid between where they were in the spring to where they are now? (Aaron Wilson)"These two days they both looked good. They both looked fine; they have no problems. There are some full-speed-type drills out there, not contact, but the speed of it, and they had no problems. We'll work them through the first two days. Thursday and Friday are both full speed, but they're not full contact, so that'll be another chance for them to take the next step that way. I don't anticipate any problems."
Same question with LB C.J. Mosley, have you seen that he really adjusted from OTAs, learned his stuff and then comes out and appears to know what he's doing out there? (Dave Ginsburg)"He does, and he did before, too. Again, we'll know more in a week. Once we get [further into camp], once [things] start flying a little faster, he's going to make decisions more in game-like situations. We'll have a better feel for that [then]. But so far, so good."
LB C.J. Mosley talked about putting the pads on – how excited he is for that. Is that kind of what you're talking about? Seeing all of these rookies once they get the pads on, do you get a better assessment of where they're at? (Garrett Downing)"The pads are the next step. That's what football is. We'll practice as much as we can in game-like situations. We'll try to make it, as much as we can, tougher, than what the game is. You can't come out here and play a game, but we try to put them in every situation we can possibly think of. We'll challenge them mentally; we'll challenge them physically. We'll try to play fast. We try to force them to process very quickly as a player in pressure situations and prepare as much as we can for the games, and then we'll go out and play. That'll be the final step."
Any training camp themes, mottos, slogan or mindset? (Glenn Younes)"We have a lot of good stuff. Absolutely. We have lots of tremendous stuff."
And they are going to be? (Glenn Younes)"You'll see. I'm sure you'll see the T-shirts soon enough. The biggest things right now probably are two things we're going to talk about, [which] are team-related. 'One Accord' is something that we've been talking about now for quite a while – since forever, but really through the Super Bowl year and up until now. And then 'All In' is something we're going to talk about. What does it really mean to be 'all in' on something? To be completed committed to something? Who do you do it for? Why do you do it? Those [are the] kinds of things we'll be talking to [the players] about."
Coach, did you have any kind of takeaways from last year by not making the playoffs for the first time in your head coaching career? (Nate Davis)"Nothing that I could give you in one sentence that would make any sense that way. I don't have a cliché handy for that right now."
John, have you gotten any indication from the league on when it might get ready to make an announcement on RB Ray Rice? (Jamison Hensley)"I have not heard anything on that."
If there is a suspension, or how long, does that dictate how you might have reps? Does it affect how you practice, as far as the rotations for running back go? (Jamison Hensley)"I don't think it affects us until halfway through training camp, maybe. We'll be business as usual until then. We're installing for the first six days and working situations through the first, really, two preseason games. Once we get past that second preseason game, then we'll need to know that. Whenever they're ready to let us know, we'll be ready to hear it."
Coach, you've mentioned this to us and I believe to the players as well: "What does your family think? What does your community think about how you are on and off the field?" Are you hitting that home again this first week of camp or did you already do that prior to? (Glenn Younes) "That point has been made. It's been made."
Coach, that being said, this is our first time speaking with you regarding what happened with CB Jimmy Smith. Did you have a chance to express to Jimmy how you felt and hear his version of what went down? (Jerry Coleman) "Yes."
Can you elaborate? (Jerry Coleman) "It's a private conversation, obviously. I understand what happened, I believe. I heard it from a lot of different sources, and [I] haven't thought about it since. I feel like I've given it the amount of attention it deserves."
Just to clarify exactly, the first day in pads is Saturday? (Joe Platania)"The first day in pads is Saturday. Thursday and Friday will be in shells – helmets, shells – and then Saturday will be pads. [We'll be in] pads pretty much every day from here on out in training camp, with the exception of the day before a preseason game."
Can you talk about what you've seen from LB C.J. Mosley, progress-wise? (Nate Davis)"He's made a lot of progress. C.J. has done a great job. It's been pretty well documented [how well] he's done. He's in a fight now for playing time, and he has a lot to learn. He's just beginning, so we'll see where it goes. It's going to be fun to see. [After] the first week we'll know a lot more about these guys. Once we get to the first off day after the M&T [Bank Stadium] practice, we'll probably have a pretty good feel, in terms of giving you some kind of update on these guys. That's probably when we'll know more."
So tomorrow is the conditioning test. Is that what it takes to evaluate the veterans coming in to check their conditioning? (Jerry Coleman)"We have a way of doing that. Not everybody takes a conditioning test. It's part of our physical, based on how much they participated in the offseason. The bottom line with the whole thing is we're gauging how ready guys are to practice. I'm anticipating that our team will be in great shape. It really looks like our team will be in really great shape, probably the best since 2008. We'll find out tomorrow on a couple guys, but we've seen a bunch of the guys already. A lot of the guys are already here. They've already come in and they look good. I'm really excited about the work our team has put in. I'm fired up about it."
John, you had to have thought you were going to hear something about RB Ray Rice by the time training camp opened. Is that a false assumption? You had to have thought you were going to know by now. (Bruce Cunningham)"I'd rather not get into that. It's not for me to say. It's not my decision to make, or any of us here. It's in other people's hands, and I'm sure there are a lot of complications in making those kinds of decisions. There are many sides to every story, and there are a lot of factors. There are other people involved; there are other disciplinary situations involved around the league. That has to be weighed in and taken in context. You're going to have to sort through that and be fair. I know the league is very judicious about that. They work really hard to do the right thing. I don't think they worry about public opinion too much. They want to do the right thing by the people involved. We'll see where it goes."
In terms of conditioning and attendance in the offseason, were you guys fairly pleased with basically a packed house almost here? (Glenn Younes)"You make a good point. That's right. We want guys here every day. You know how we are, and we've been that way from the beginning. That's the thing, and you want everybody here every day ready to go 100 percent. And, on that top of that, those who choose not to be here on personal reasons – which we're not judging [because] guys make choices, especially the older guys that have families – they proved that they're in great shape, so I'm happy about that. They know what they're doing football-wise, so they'll be ready to roll."
What is the expectation for when NT Terrence Cody might be able to get back out there? (Aaron Wilson)"I really don't have an expectation on that right now. We're on a timeline. We'll just have to see how he's doing and what our needs are."
Is NT Terrence Cody coming along well? (Aaron Wilson)"Yes, he's coming along. He's doing a good job. He's just not 100 percent ready to go yet, but [he is] working hard and very serious about what he's doing. [I am] real happy with him. He's very determined. He thinks with that hip being healthy that he's going to be able to show what he can do for the first time in his career. I'm hoping he's right. I'd like to see his best."
John, does the fact that you have a new offense in Gary Kubiak this year affect repetitions and plans, even in the preseason, for the starting offense? (Jeff Zrebiec)"No, not really. We'll have the same preparation that we'll have the next year and the year after that and the year after that with our offense. Whatever offense we have, guys are going to work hard. Guys will be in a different place as they get more experience with certain plays. It's not like we're coming in here running a bunch of plays that guys have never seen before. It's just the way it's organized, and there are subtleties for each position, but they're not gigantic differences [from] what they've done throughout their careers. We just have to put it all together as a team. That's what we're trying to do right now. We need to play together well as an offensive line. The backs need to be on the same page in the run game. We need the quarterbacks and receivers to be precise in what they do. That's what we're trying to build right now so that we can execute when the time comes. When you put the effort into building the execution, then you want to be able to execute under pressure where it matters the most so that you can find a way to win the game. Make one more play than they make at the end to win the game. Those are all the things that you try to build into training camp. What are the edges that you can create for yourself to make yourself a winning football team? One more edge than our opponent. One more smarter way of doing something. One more rep to build our execution under pressure. That's what we're trying to accomplish, and it's a lot of work."
You've been known to split practices in order to get more reps for your second- and third-teamers. Does that mesh with how Gary Kubiak wants to run his offensive practices? (Glenn Younes) "No, I don't think so. You'll have to ask him. He didn't mention that to me. He seems happy with the reps." (laughter)
So it does mesh? (Glenn Younes) "Yes." (laughter)
Meshing is not a bad word. (Glenn Younes) "Meshing is good. We like to be coordinated." (laughter)
Closing statement:"I have one last thing to say. I was waiting for the right moment to say it, but I have my quote. [Are] you guys ready for it?* (laughter)* 'There are many battles looming on the upcoming horizons, and we'll be riding into the sun.' What do you think? It has a little bit of a cowboy-Western thing to it!" (laughter)
QB Joe Flacco
On how it feels to be back at practice:"It always feels good to be back. [It's] good to see the guys and get back in the locker room and get back in the swing of things. You know it's for real now, and I'm excited about it."
On if offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's offense changes the way he prepares for the season: "I haven't really thought about it yet; I haven't gotten that far. To be honest with you, I mostly rely on how comfortable [John Harbaugh] is with our first unit working together and me being in there. I wouldn't think it would be too much different than the normal, but you never know. I haven't really thought about it. It's probably going to be mostly up to [Harbaugh]."
On whether this training camp is fun for him with the new offense: "It's always fun, but I think it's going to present new challenges and things like that. I think that always keeps it fresh and exciting. I don't know if fun is the word. It's always fun, and you've got to keep it fun, so you can come here every day and really get better and learn. But it's fresh; it's going to be exciting. Everybody has to focus in, dial in, and I think it's really going to help us get better."
On how his relationship with Gary Kubiak has progressed: "No doubt about it. Throughout OTAs and then the minicamp and all of that, and actually getting to spend some time in the meetings and really spend some time out in the field and make some mistakes and things like that, you get a feel for each other a little bit, and I think all that went really well, and I think we're kind of progressing into training camp and going in with a good mindset and a good feel for each other, so we'll be able to help each other out."
On rookie LB C.J. Mosley:"[Mosley] is a good athlete. He is a natural, man – looks like he covers ground out there really well. It'll be interesting, once we get the pads on, to see some of the running backs and [Moseley] and some of our other guys go toe to toe a little bit. He is definitely a natural athlete that can move around out there and cover some ground."
On how whether he relaxed during his time off before training camp: "A little bit. It was a good time to spend some time with the family and kind of get a little bit of last time in before you're going to be tucked away for a few months and grinding away at this stuff. So, it was good to relax a little bit, and make sure I came back here ready and in shape."
On whether he picked up a football during his time off before training camp: "I picked up a football a good amount, talked to the guys a lot. All you've got to do is check all of their social media around here. All these guys were working pretty hard and getting ready to go. So, I think we all did a good amount, and it's just about getting back here and applying it to our practice field."* *
On whether he has certain expectations for the new offense: "I think we did a great job picking up what we've installed so far. I think we've installed it, most of it, three separate times now, so everybody has a pretty good overview of it. We're still going to make mistakes, but they have to be corrected quickly, and you can't be making them again and again. You have to come out here right after that, and that mistake should be gone. I think we can expect a pretty high level of pace, and I think we can expect a pretty high level of precision being that we've done it for a couple of months, and that's what I'm going to expect. I'm going to expect us to go out there and operate at a high level. I don't care if it's a new offense or not."* *
On if he's gaining a comfort level with the new offense: "No doubt. It always helps to go out here and run plays, and me and Tyrod [Taylor] were joking, coming over here on our first day, we were kind of reciting the cadence to ourselves to make sure that we remembered how to say it. I think we've passed the test. (laughter) It always is kind of fun to refresh your brain and get back into it. There's definitely starting to become a comfort level with it. There's probably some of the plays that we haven't repped quite as much as some others that we'll get a chance to do in training camp. We go against a good defense every day, and running these plays day-in and day-out, and the amount of plays that we run out there, it really allows us to get a good breadth of everything."
On whether he feels comfortable with running a lot in the new offense: "I feel like I'm a pretty good athlete, so I'm excited about all that stuff. It's going to be fun."
On whether he is in execution mode when it comes to plays:"No doubt about it. That's why I said I don't care if it's a new offense or not. I expect to come out here and be precise and operate at a high level. This is where it counts. We've got a couple weeks, and we're going to be playing real games, and we've got to execute at a high level in order to win those because they're going to come down to little things like that. That's why we can't expect to come out here and make little mistakes. We've got to have that stuff cleaned up, and come out here and operate so that we can translate it to Sunday."* *
On if the offense is trying to find the best plays that work best for it now: "I think we're still going to go back and install and practice all those plays and just try to get as good as we can at the basics and come up with little things off of that."
On the toughest thing he has had to learn with the new offense: "It's tough to say the toughest. I think the biggest thing, though, is mentally trying to get rid of all the other stuff that you've known for six years and kind of wipe it out of your mind and start new and get this stuff down as much as possible. I think all the physical stuff, you kind of come out here and you talk to the coaches about it here and there, you make a couple mistakes, but pretty quickly, we all pick that stuff up after a couple days of understanding what these coaches want and what they don't want. So, I think it's really still just a matter of wiping the old offense out and being able to hear maybe a piece of the play that Gary gives me and get in the huddle and call the whole play. That's where we were kind of with the last offense. [If] we were backed up on the 1-yard line and I couldn't hear that much, if I got one little piece of the thing in my head, I could do a pretty good job of getting it to the guys what they called. I think that'll be maybe one of the last things that comes with this offense is really being able to, kind of, without necessarily hearing the whole play, get what they're trying to call."
On what stands out most about WR Steve Smith, Sr.: "Just his natural ability to catch the ball with his hands. He catches everything with his hands, and he does a great job doing it. He is strong to the ball, even though he's not very high in stature. He is just strong to the ball and his hands are really, really good."
On whether the terminology of the new offense is different from the previous offense: "It's football, so I don't know how much different it can be. You're given a formation, a motion, a protection, or a run play, or a route, so it's all pretty much structured the same way, but there are different names for things. I wouldn't say it's the most complicated thing in the world, but it is different."
On how he views his leadership responsibilities during training camp: "[It's about] just coming out here with confidence and trying to get that across to everybody else. I think that's going to be big for us this year, just coming out here and playing confident and making a decision and sticking with it. I think when we come out here, starting with me, if I can execute at a high level and show everybody else that they should execute at a high level and they will execute at a high level, I think we'll get that confidence to go out there on Sundays and kind of play with a little bit of swagger. I think that's what it's going to take."
On the growth he has seen from WR Torrey Smith: "He is so fast and [has] such short bursts of high intensity. His first training camp out here, man, it was tough for him to get through a practice, and now that's not even a concern anymore. One of the biggest things I picked up in our offseason, OTAs and minicamp, I was never quite comfortable throwing a little stop route to [Smith early on] when the [defender] was playing bump on him or something like that. I think I was 100 percent with him these OTAs and minicamp, and I feel really comfortable. I don't know what it is. I don't [know] if something is hitting his brain a little differently there, or something like that, but that's just an example of him kind of getting a better understanding for some things and running some things a little better."
LB C.J. Mosley
On how much more comfortable he feels with the defense from when he first joined the team to now:"I feel like I grew tremendously, just coming in and not really knowing what to expect and coming out now and pretty much knowing all of our first couple installs. It's kind of like the back of my hand – not the palm of my hand – so I feel real comfortable with it so far."
On if he feels privileged to be able to go through all the offseason workout programs, study all offseason and now step right in and compete:"Yes, like I was just saying, I just grew so much. Especially all the guys that came in with me – all of us coming in first, watching the older guys and the veterans come in and just knowing what to do, and now we're coming out here by ourselves with no backup and we're running everything. Like I said, the first four installs I feel like everybody here knows already, and it's going to be a big gain for us coming into training camp, because we're going to know what to do. So, it's pretty much all about us showing what we can do with our pads on and just executing plays."
On if he feels like the competition starts right off the bat at training camp:"I can speak for our inside linebacker room that the competition is going to start as soon as we get our pads on. Coach 'Wink' [Don Martindale] will tell you, like he told us [that] this is one of the best linebacking groups that he's had in a while. Everybody knows what to do, everybody is athletic, everybody is fast and everybody wants to play. So, if we're going to have to, we'll have to do it on special teams. But whoever plays on Sunday, we're going to have to show [up] in the preseason and while we're in these camp practices."
On if he is thinking out on the field or just playing now:"I'd say at the beginning I was thinking about things. I wouldn't say I was thinking about messing up, I was just thinking about what to do, where I was supposed to be. But now it's just all about instincts, and the more you know, the better you're going to be and the more plays you're going to make. So, right now, I'm just out there playing football."
On translating his natural ability onto the playing field:"One thing that I always had going into wherever I played at was just me being fast to the ball and making plays, in the passing game or running sideline-to-sideline making tackles. One of the good things when I get in pads, I don't have to be as slow as I've been just in shoulder pads, or just in our shells where you can't really go as fast or fit up on blockers, things like that. So when we get pads on, it'll kind of just be free football. You have to execute your plays; at the end of the day you have to be athletic and make your plays. So I feel like when we get in pads I'll be able to do that."
On how he has adjusted to the speed of the NFL level:"If you know what you're doing, the speed is pretty much the same. The game gets faster if you don't know what you're doing. You're guessing, you're thinking, you're kind of four steps off when the next player is down the field. So, once you know what you're doing and you know your role, you're going to get that man or fit that gap. Once you know what you're doing, it's really not [about] fast; it's just about executing and playing football."
On how ready he is to start hitting:"I'm ready just to get started. We've been practicing for a long time, especially for the rookies, always here by ourselves. So, I'm just ready to get in pads and show these coaches that they picked me for a reason."
On if he feels pressure to earn the starting job as the top draft pick:"I don't really try to think about it like that. I'm here to play football. Like I said, they picked me for a reason, so when we get in pads I have to show what I'm made of. I'm not really thinking about me starting or starting slow or fast. I just make sure when my name gets called, I'm ready to play and I'm ready to execute."
On being part of a team that has a tradition for great defense, and specifically, great linebackers:"Just one thing about me coming from Alabama is it's all about tradition. [We've] always had great defensive players, great linebackers that came out of Alabama, and for me to come to another great team, another great defense, the history and some of the players they still have now on the team, it's just for me to add on and try to keep that tradition going. I'm just doing what I can to fit in."