TUESDAY PODIUM AVAILABILITY: WEEK 8 BYE
Offensive Line Coach Joe D'Alessandris
Opening statement: "How are you guys doing today? Good? Good. It's a nice fall day. Awesome."
How much have injuries kind of affected your plan and challenged your job? (Jamison Hensley) "Injuries happen. In a contact sport, you're going to have injuries. That's why you have to prepare players throughout your roster to get ready for sudden change, and when that happens, you give them a chance. Here's what I've always seen with players that have injuries; when you grant them an opportunity, they take advantage of it, and they do well. So, that's what I love about our group of guys here. They've been put in some challenging positions, but they've responded well."
What did you think of G/T Tyre Phillips, especially stepping in for OL Patrick Mekari last week? (Ryan Mink) "You know, Tyre [Phillips] started off as the starting left guard; he and Ben Powers were working together. Then he got injured, right? Then we got him back for the Chargers game on limited work as his first time back, and then last week, we started cross-training him back at tackle. And then, all of a sudden, he had to play three quarters of the game [at tackle]. For the first time back at that position and going with live bullets, he did a nice job, and he'll get better from there."
G Kevin Zeitler is putting together a great season, but he's not talked about much. What has he brought to the offense? (Todd Karpovich) "I'm glad you said that, because I see the same thing. I see this young man; he is a football player. He loves the game. He's a student of the game. He applies coaching. He listens to it. He applies the technique and fundamentals. I think he's having a whale of a year as a guard in run blocking and pass protection. It isn't perfect, but he is doing one heck of a job. He's stabilized our right guard position."
In a perfect world, would you prefer having G/T Tyre Phillips working at one position and that's just not the reality of what you've been able to do? (Jeff Zrebiec) "That's exactly right. It's just that way. Initially, we would have loved to have him at left guard, but the injury happened. Ben Powers steps in, and Ben Powers is doing a really good job. He's been another one who's not spoken of much that's doing a really good job week-in and week-out. Like last week, we were running some play action [where] he was isolated on an outside [linebacker] or defensive end three units away from him and had to block him, and [he] did a heck of a job with that all day. That's a tough position to be put in. Those that have ever played the offensive line, go block people out in space. Tackles have enough of a difficult time, and they're close in proximity for them to do that, and he had to do that from a running position to do that. But with getting back to your question about Tyre [Phillips], that would be perfect. Unfortunately, now it's this next step, and he's going to be at the right tackle position until things settle down with Pat Mekari. There's another guy that's done a whale of a job for us."
Have you had a chance to talk to T Ronnie Stanley at all? What are his spirits like? (Jamison Hensley) "Ronnie [Stanley] and I, we spoke prior to the surgery, and then we have communicated since then. I think he's in this recovery mode right now and getting well. Ronnie is a good, fine, young man, and now, we wish him the best. He just has to get well. That's his big thing, to get well. The medical staff will handle all of that, and they do a wonderful job for us."
A lot has been made out of the running game. I know on any single play, it can be a different issue and different problem here or there, but what would you like to see improve in terms of the run blocking being more consistent? (Luke Jones) "I think early in the year, we're running the ball pretty decent. Against the Chargers, we did pretty good against them, too, last week. If you look at yards per carry, it wasn't bad, but we just didn't do it often enough. Look at the statistics, and we went in reverse. We threw the ball more than we ran, OK? So, that happens because of the position we're in, but we're going to do what we have to do to win. Some games, we're going to be throwing all the time. Some games, we're going to be running. But I think our run blocking will continue to improve. The guys will apply to get there, and our [running] backs will gel with us."
How high of a level is C/G Bradley Bozeman playing at center? (Ryan Mink)"He's doing a really nice job. That's a tough position to come in, transition from guard to center. He's communicating well at the line of scrimmage. He's a tough son of a gun. That shot he took against [the Los Angeles Chargers] and how he's responded back and came back to play last week, not many guys do that in this business. He's a tough 'hombre.' So, I'm glad we have him on our offensive line."
With T Alejandro Villanueva moving back from right tackle to left tackle, was that, after all you guys did to prepare him for that right side, was that a natural transition back? (Jonas Shaffer)"The plan was if that ever happened, we were ready for it, because that's where he's had his most success in his career, at being the left tackle. Since then, he's back in this normal position, and he's doing a very nice job for us week-in and week-out. [He's] continuing to grow with what we do here offensively."
I know there's a rehab process involved. How much of an opportunity have you gotten to be around T Ja'Wuan James, talk to him and work with him? Where is that at? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Ja'Wuan [James] does a lot of rehab with the medical staff and sits in our meetings. [He] does a good job of gathering information and then applying it. So, right now, I'm glad we have him. He's a fine, young man. I had a chance to work him out prior to the [2014 NFL] Draft when he was at Tennessee, so I got to know him back then. I liked him back then coming out in the Draft, and I love him now because he's here with us at the Ravens."
I know G Ben Cleveland is on the mend currently, but from the games you did see him in, what struck you about what he can do? (Jonas Shaffer)"There's a big man who can move, can helmet adjust, can change direction [and] has speed; he just needs playing time. Unfortunately, he got hurt in the preseason. We got him back again, and now he got re-injured. But when he's stepped in, he's done a nice job, and he's growing as a pro."
Does an offensive line coach always carry around a whistle wherever you go? (Ryan Mink)"Have you ever seen doctors? They walk around with what? A stethoscope. Well, I'm a football coach, and I walk around with a whistle. So, this is my piece of equipment for the day. So, remember that one. That's a pretty good one though, right? (laughter) If a doctor walks around with a stethoscope, I'm walking around with a whistle."
I'm just curious about kind of scouting your own team's defense. How often do the offensive coaches take a look at the defense? Does this Bye Week kind of provides a little more time [to do that] and vice versa? (Shawn Stepner)"Reassessing ourselves, you're saying?" (Reporter: "Yes.") "Yes, we always … We do that weekly, and we also do it now in the Bye Week. We just see where our strengths are, where are weaknesses are, what we have to improve upon, and we build upon that. We're in that process right now doing that same stuff."
Over the second half of last season, you guys were able to be pretty consistent in the starting five that you used and had that great second half just rushing the ball. Are you optimistic that if you have that kind of injury luck, you can have a similar kind of second half of the season? (Jonas Shaffer)"You always do, I think so. If we can stay healthy and all the guys keep on working like … They're great guys. They work every day [on] everything I ask them to do, and we work collectively as a player-coach, coach-player, they do. So, I have nothing but accolades to pass to each one of them. We just have to keep working at it day-by-day to accomplish our goals."
Pass Game Coordinator/Secondary Coach Chris Hewitt
What have you seen with the development of CB Anthony Averett? He's kind of stepped up into a bigger role. What have you seen in his development throughout the season? (Jamison Hensley)"At this point right now, he's had some ups and downs, as far as play, but he's always been a confident person with great skill. It's been well-documented [how] we feel about him here as a player. He's starting caliber, and he's playing at that level. But as a secondary, as a whole, we've been inconsistent, so his play has been inconsistent as well. But we believe in him. He has that ability. He's had some great plays, and he'll continue to keep on getting better and make some great plays for us."
With CB Anthony Averett, did it feel like that Colts game was an aberration of what he's been playing like so far this season and just throughout his career? (Kyle Barber)"I don't know a corner in the National Football League that hasn't gone through games like that, where guys get beaten or they're getting picked on a little bit. It's a hard position to play. So, as far as that being an aberration, yes, it's an aberration. We want great play from him. And those guys on the other side of the ball, they get paid too, and they're going to make plays. But what we're trying to get is our guys making more plays than they make. But to answer your question, I think it is an aberration."
You mentioned the consistency issue. What's your message to the guys this week, as you kind of try to get better over the Bye Week? (Ryan Mink)"Just that – we're going to get better over the Bye [Week]. That's our whole charge going throughout … Even starting from the first game, it's just to continue to keep on getting better. We've had some bumps in the road, and we just continue to keep on getting better that way. We'll keep on working our technique. And the message hasn't changed; the sky is not falling or anything like that. We're in a good position, and we're just going to continue to keep on getting better and keep on working at the skills that we've been doing ever since I've been here."
With some of the missed tackles, has it been guys trying to punch the ball out or trying to go for the turnover? Has it been technique? What are some of the challenges with the tackling that you've seen? (Todd Karpovich)"Tackling really starts with a mindset, and it's a 'want to,' and we've just got to get that put across to our players. We've just got to have that mentality all the time. And to answer your question, there are a lot of times where … There are all kinds of issues where it's a guy not pointing [towards] the ball, or a guy not containing the ball, a guy thinking that he's tackling by himself. You never want a guy to go out there and think that he's got to make the tackle by himself. There are 11 guys out there, and we've just got to play with our leverage and play with the great effort that we have always had. But what we're doing is … There are just a bunch of things that happen on each individual play. When every play is graded individually, it's all different. So, that's just something that we've just got to get better [at]. We'll keep on coaching it, and our players are going to continue to keep on getting better, and again, it's a mindset."
You mentioned that every defensive back has a bad day at one point. CB Marlon Humphrey was pretty upfront about his struggles on Sunday. How confident are you in him bouncing back? A lot has been on him with CB Marcus Peters being out. What have you seen from him so far this season? (Jeff Zrebiec)"He's had really good games, and this game right here … You go back to the week prior to this against the Chargers; he had to take [No.] 81 [Mike Williams]. He had to take him all by himself, and he did that, and did a really good job against him. And coming back here, [Ja'Marr] Chase got the best of him. But as far as what we're talking about moving forward, it's just [to] continue to keep on working on your technique; don't stray from what your technique has gotten you to, to this point. And that's just something we'll continue to keep on stressing, because [when] you watch it from the first quarter to the fourth quarter, he changed what he was doing. He was really doing a really good job [in] the first quarter, and then [in the] fourth quarter, he kind of changed what he was doing, as far as technique-wise, and it hurt him. If you ask him again what he would do in hindsight, going forward, 'Don't change your technique. Keep on doing what you've been doing. What's been successful for you in the past?'"
Is there any concern that your starting safeties wear out a little bit towards the end of the season if they're playing every snap, or is it fine? (Childs Walker)"It's fine, because those are our best players, and our whole thing is to put the best players on the field. So, these guys that are playing, those are our best players, and those are the guys that are going to play."
What have you seen from CB Tavon Young? Defensive coordinator Don Martindale has talked about this "callusing up" process, and that he expects him to get better as the season goes on. (Jonas Shaffer)"And he's done exactly that. From the first game, even to this last game that we played, he just continues to keep on getting better. He's getting more comfortable; he's getting more confident. He's missed – what is it – two years? He missed a whole year and played in two games last year. So, he's basically missed two years of playing football. So, he's really just getting himself going back again, going through training camp, recovering back from the knee. He's getting stronger, and he's continued to just keep on getting [more] comfortable. He's making plays for us."
What is it about CB Tavon Young – mentally or whatnot – that has allowed him to come back from two tough injuries? (Ryan Mink)"What I'll say about Tavon [Young] is the guy is … He's a flat-out 'dog.' And when I say 'dog,' meaning that he's got a mentality like a Pitbull. Once he locks in, he's not letting go. That's his mentality from the time that he got here as a rookie, [and] he's always been that way. He's cut from that kind of cloth. He's not backing down from any kind of challenge. And I don't care what it is or who he's got to cover, he wants that smoke."
I think this is S Chuck Clark's third year wearing the green dot for the defense. What have you seen from him, in terms of his growth, and his leadership on the field, pre-snap, and getting everything organized? (Jonas Shaffer)"The thing I'll say about Chuck [Clark] is that he's been like that from the time that he got here as a rookie. He's as serious as a heart attack, and all professional from the time that he got here. He had the opportunity to work under [Eric] Weddle and Tony Jefferson. He had some older safeties, some guys to watch and grow under, and he's taken that role. Everything that Eric Weddle did, he modeled his game right after him. He's really made it a point for him to learn every position on the field, know what everybody is doing, and he can line everybody up. It's well-documented; 'Wink' [defensive coordinator Don Martindale] talks about what he's done for us, as a defense. He's definitely the captain of our defense. And he's one of those guys that … He'll play in the league for a long time, just because of how smart he is."
We've seen DB Brandon Stephens fill in for S DeShon Elliott for a couple games and move around a lot. What have you liked about his development about halfway through his rookie year? (Luke Jones)"Like any rookie, they're going to have their bumps and bruises in the road. But he's got that same kind of mentality like Chuck [Clark]. He's really serious, he's got a great approach about him, [he's] extremely conscientious. He's just got to learn the speed of the play in the NFL and continue to just get better at that, and he has. He's just got to turn it loose, as a player. Those are the things I talk to him about; 'Man, just go ahead, and go turn it loose and play football like you did when you were in Pop Warner.' He's getting better with that, and you'll see him out there making some plays for us."
Inside Linebackers Coach Rob Ryan
Opening statement: "[I'm] happy to be talking to you guys, it's been a while. A lot of ball has been played, but it's just a young season, really. Shoot, it's just seven games in of a 17-game regular season and then games after that. So, it's exciting where we are. This is a great time of the year for a coach – it's outstanding. You have a Bye Week, and this is where … You can only make a little bit of a difference as a coach, certain amounts per year, and this is a time where you can really find little, tiny details that, hopefully, going forward can make a big difference. As far as the players, working on fundamentals, more so time with individuals and things like that, so that's always a big plus. That's the only way you get better – you have to work on your fundamentals and study the game. And again, there are little points that can be made to help us go along as the season progresses – that's how you get better each week, and this is a real important time to do it. So, it's exciting. Alright, any questions?"
We've talked to defensive coordinator Don Martindale about what ILB Patrick Queen needs to do to kind of unlock his ability. What are your thoughts on that? (Childs Walker) "I'll tell you what; he's a super talented guy. What do you call that? Uber talented. He has all the skills. 'P.Q.' [Patrick Queen] doesn't have a ton of experience, he's getting that on-the-job-training. I think adding Josh Bynes, a veteran, in there next to him has really helped him. [Josh Bynes] has taken some of the MIKE responsibility off of him and put him more towards the WILL and the DIME position that utilizes speed. You can see it's already slowing down the last two weeks. I think he's played well the last couple of weeks. Again, he does have all the talent in the world. So, as soon as the game can slow down for him, the better he's going to get. We're excited about that."
I know you guys are only thinking about the next game, but has moving ILB Patrick Queen over to the WILL spot showed you anything about where his potential is best long-term? (Jonas Shaffer) "I think so. Look, you have to find spots. That's one thing you do once you get to a place, you have to see the personnel you have [and] find their best spots. This young guy is going to have a big career in front of him. So, I know everybody wants to see him be Ray Lewis right away, but I mean, Ray Lewis wasn't Ray Lewis when he first got here. (laughter) Things take time, and you're going to see this guy get better each week. The fundamental parts of it, those are things that he has to do better. I think the less thinking [he has to do], then he can do a better job at tackling. That's something he needs to improve at. It's a hard thing. The guy that's going to do that for him is him, and he can do that. Obviously, we want him to be a great tackler and a more consistent tackler, and that's something that he needs to improve on. His coverage is much better. We see it progressing each week. He has a better understanding of everything we're looking for. Again, utilizing his abilities going forward is something that we're going to do."
You've been around for a while. Head coach John Harbaugh has talked about how the team needs to tackle better at every level. As a coach, how do you work on that? How difficult is that to work on given the current rules and the fact that you don't do that in practice? How do you approach that problem? (Jeff Zrebiec) "It's a great question. Shoot, back in the day, you could tackle them all the time. I remember live-tackling guys in New England that were having difficulty before the playoffs, even in the open date with full pads. I don't know if that was legal or not, but we did it. (laughter) Bottom line is these are great athletes. They're some of the top athletes in the world, and we know we have to tackle better to have a great defense. That's something that we have to do. We have to rep it. They give you the … The equipment that we have are those little tires and things. You can't exactly tackle things to the ground unless you have the pads on, because you don't want to risk injury. But it's definitely a focus of ours. I think in the next couple of days, it'll be a big focus today and tomorrow, because there are certainly areas that we can improve on, and tackling is definitely one of them."
What about ILB Malik Harrison? What do you think of his development and his ability to get on the field and make plays? (Todd Karpovich) "Malik [Harrison] is a great, big, old kid that's strong. He's just kind of getting into his body, but he sometimes looks like he's laboring out there, because he is a big, old kid. We're putting a lot on his plate. Again, we're trying to find the exact role for him. But right now, he's playing at a lot of different spots. He's playing at MIKE, SAM and WILL. We're moving him around and doing some different things. 'Wink' [defensive coordinator Don Martindale] has been moving him in certain sub-packages outside. He has a lot of big talent, a lot of raw talent, and it's up to us to develop it. He's plenty smart. He's been able to handle all these positions, so he'll be a good football player. He should just keep improving."
You mentioned ILB Josh Bynes, but going back a little bit, how tough was the loss of ILB L.J. Fort? And then to bring in ILB Josh Bynes, just because of what you mentioned that these other inside linebackers are so inexperienced? (Luke Jones) "L.J. [Fort] is terrific. He's tremendous in the locker room. He's tremendous in the meeting rooms. He's a great football player. He was getting better each year, he really was. To lose him, that's a tough injury, because the game slows down when you're playing next to a guy that's extremely vocal. Josh [Bynes] is an outstanding leader. We were fortunate enough to get him, and no surprise, from the way [executive vice president and general manager] Eric DeCosta and [head coach] John Harbaugh run things, they were going to find a great veteran out there to help us. He's been great. I know he's constantly talking with 'P.Q.' [Patrick Queen] and Malik [Harrison] on the sideline, [and] they're working things out. They do a better job of talking to each other than I've seen in a long time; [they're] a group of players that can really make each other better. He's been a great addition, he really is. Like I said, when you lose a great veteran like L.J., to replace him with another one, we were really fortunate."
Pass Game Specialist Keith Williams
How pleased have you been with the progress of the receiver group as a whole? There have been some injuries, and you've needed to lean on a lot of different guys. How do you feel like the group has come along? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I'm really pleased. Those guys stepped up and stepped in for the injured guys. Just that old mantra, 'next man up,' they really took that to heart. The work was there; they got serious – well, they were serious. But they understood the situation and stepped up to the plate."
What is WR Marquise Brown doing better in his route running? (Ryan Mink)"He's paying close attention to detail. His preparation throughout the week helps him perform the way he has been so far on Sundays. He's psychologically, mentally and physically locked in. He understands what needs to be done, so when he comes out here to work every day, he knows every rep is a time to improve, is a time to get better and set himself up for the potential to have a good game."
WR Rashod Bateman coming in and being productive right away after having the injury, is that a testament to the skill level he came in with, his professionalism? What would you say about that? (Childs Walker)"He definitely has the skill level, but he's really mature for a young guy. He came in with an understanding and a mindset that he needed to be locked in to reach his potential. He understood that he had a chance to potentially contribute as a rookie; you can tell that that was on his mind. He's mature beyond his years. His preparation on an everyday basis has showed that, and he's physically gifted. So, the way he stepped in in his first action, and the fact that he played well, that didn't surprise me."
Wide receivers coach Tee Martin said that with WR Marquise Brown it's all about his preparation during the week, and that's why he's performing at such a high level. Is that something that a player may have spoken to him about? Do you know if that's something that he's done on his own? Do you know anything about where that came about? (Kyle Barber)"He and I have had conversations about that – [wide receivers coach] Tee [Martin], also – but at the same time, it's more of him. Guys develop; everybody doesn't stay the same. You get older, you get better, you get wiser in whatever you're doing. So, he understood that to go to the next level of his game in development, he had to change something. And so, he came into this season with that mindset, and Tee and I have just supported him in that and given him our advice, as far as that's concerned. But yes, when he comes out here now, he's dialed in, he understands to take advantage of each portion of the practice, and how that might pay off on Sunday."
We see you doing the individual work with the receivers, but we know your title is pass game specialist. Beyond just working with the guys, what other roles, if any, do you have with the gameday prep and the game planning for a normal game week? (Jonas Shaffer)"It kind of varies. I don't want to get into the specifics – to give away the secret sauce. (laughter) It kind of varies. Whatever is necessary, in terms of the route running and the pass game, wherever I can fit in or need to fit in to [give us] the best possible chance for us to win, that's where I'm at, that's what I do. It happens in the gameplan, [and] it happens out here on the field, obviously; it just depends. It's not really a specific way or decision we make on how to do it; it just depends."
One of the media narratives that came from ESPN's Bart Scott was that QB Lamar Jackson doesn't have the same weapons as some of the top quarterbacks around the league have. Do your wide receivers take that personally? How personally have they taken that, and how much has that motivated them? (Ryan Mink)"I don't think they've taken anything personal. Everybody is just focused on doing their job. You can't listen to the highs or the lows. You've just got to come out here and get better every day, and then see what that gets you."
Because QB Lamar Jackson rarely faces man coverage, does that change the kinds of techniques or the kinds of things you emphasize at practice? (Jonas Shaffer)"Not necessarily. You prepare for man and zone, either way. You don't know how much you're going to get it, if it all, but you prepare for the fastball and be ready for the curve, regardless. We know we may see man. You really don't know what you're going to see, so you just try your best to be prepared for everything."
How pleased have you been with WRs Devin Duvernay and James Proche II? We asked you a lot about them in the summer, but what have you seen with their ability to take what they've done on the practice field and make contributions in games the way they have? (Luke Jones)"[I'm] really proud of those guys. They've stepped up. As a group, the group is really good. They support each other, they know when we come out here to work, everybody is trying to get better. And so, those guys are a part of that – understanding they both share that mentality. I'm really proud of them [for] stepping up and developing their game and having that mindset every day."
When WR Sammy Watkins comes back, do you think he and WR Rashod Bateman and WR Marquise Brown will be complementary to each other? Do they sort of fit together naturally, because they're different? (Childs Walker)"Well, they fit together, because they're good. (laughter) And so, that's the No. 1 fit. They obviously have different skill sets, and we'll definitely try to take advantage of those different skill sets, in terms of game-planning. But them being on the field at the same time will be great either way it goes."
Sometimes you hear from wide receivers, "Oh, well this quarterback, he makes our job easier," and things like that. From a wide receiver's perspective, how does QB Lamar Jackson make their jobs easier in what he does? (Jamison Hensley) "The one thing that he does to make their jobs easier is that he's an accurate thrower. When he scrambles, he's looking downfield to make the throw still. So, you know that staying alive … If you get alive, get open and get separation from your guy while he's scrambling, you'll still get the ball, and if you get open, you know you'll get an accurate pass. So, they love playing with him, and he's supportive of them. He's one of the guys. He's not one of those quarterbacks who points the fingers; he points the finger at himself first when mistakes are made, or a play is not successful. The wideouts respect that, too. So, they love playing for him."
With WR Marquise Brown, he had the one game in Detroit that was tough with the drops. How did you see him move on from that so quickly? (Ryan Mink) "First of all, when you make a mistake, first you have to own it. So, he owned it, and he understood that there was a mistake made by him. So, he owned it, and there were no excuses. Then you identify what the problem is. So, you identify the problem and then you dissect it. Each drop, each mistake has its own story. It's not just a general reason of why you make a mistake at wideout play. So, we went back and watched each mistake, each drop and figured out the story behind each one, dissect it, figure out a way to fix it and then come out on the field and do that."
I don't know how much work you do with him, but what's impressed you about what TE Mark Andrews has been able to do as a receiver this season? (Jonas Shaffer) "Oh boy, it's kind of the same thing as a wideout. He's just really stepped up and really gotten intense and focused on the route tree and running routes better and differently. He's moving around really well. He's taking coaching from [tight ends coach] Bobby [Engram] and myself in terms of releases and just every part, every nuance of route running, he's stepped up and been accepting to understand that. He wants to learn it and know more about it."
ILB Patrick Queen
On his self-assessment for where he's at seven weeks into the season: "I still need room to improve. Everybody knows that. It's obvious. It's just a level of being consistent, being dominant. Just going out there and playing football like I know I can play, like they know I can play. That's all it is, and that's all it's going to be. I've just got to get better."
On if he shuts out the outside noise from critics or uses it as motivation: "I use it and shut it out – it depends. Sometimes people don't have any idea what they're talking about, and [they'll] just be talking, and I'll laugh at that stuff. And then when it's something that I know I need to improve on – like tackling and just being consistent – that's stuff that I take and use as motivation. So, it's obvious that I know what I need to improve on, what other folks know I need to improve on. It's just a matter of me going out there and doing that."
On moving to the WILL linebacker position and if that's been a good move for him: "It's what I used to play at LSU, so I kind of have a feel to it. And just being alongside somebody [Josh Bynes] that's been in the league a long time, it helps me a little bit. It's just confidence; it's a confidence thing. I've just got to go out there and know I can play, and play the game that I know I can play at a high level."
On what's been his issue with some of the tackling: "Thinking – thinking too much, overthinking. It's really simple when you think about it. It's just technique – just go in there, break down, tackle, move your feet, wrap up. There are a lot of times that I just threw my shoulder in there. I wish I could take those plays back and just re-do them, re-live them, and just execute on that part. It would've saved us a lot of yards, a lot of points. But the only thing I can do now is just improve on that, get better at that, and just try to help my team win more games."
On the differences in playing the MIKE and WILL linebacker positions in this system: "I think the WILL, I've just got a little more time just to do what I do [and] not have to be that guy that plays slow [or] too fast. I can just play fast there now. So, there's really no difference from a physical standpoint. It's a little bit easier mentally, but it's still, at the end of the day, a Ravens defense. So, we've got to bring it every day – no matter if you're at MIKE or WILL, coming from deep, coming from the front. We've just all got to do our job. I've got to do my job, most of all, because it starts with me. I've got to pick up my slack."
On how helpful ILB Josh Bynes has been for his development: "He's helped a lot. First day he came in, he was telling me what he saw from me, what I can improve on, what I was doing good. It's always a blessing to have a guy like that in the room. We thank him. We're just riding with him. He's in there now, communicating, doing everything we need from him. We've just got to take it up another notch."
On if the WILL linebacker position will be a long-term move for him: "Wherever I perform at better is where I'm going to play. I'm going to leave that to the coaches. I'm just out there to perform, do my best, and whatever they feel like is the best at the end of the day, that's what I'm going to do."
On if he feels like he was doing too much or trying to do other people's jobs out on the field: "Yes, it was. It was. It's just how I am. That's how I was playing. I was just trying to do too much, like he [defensive coordinator Don Martindale] said. I kind of took a step back, processed it all, and really grew into, 'What am I doing wrong?' And I asked them – I asked 'Harbs' [head coach John Harbaugh], I asked him, I asked my coach [inside linebackers coach Rob Ryan], and they all gave me some feedback. So, those are the things I'm going to take into account and try to improve on each day, and leading up into the season, and each game just get better, and better and better."
On what steps he needs to take to improve his mentality on the field: "Just do it every day at practice. Not taking anything lightly. Just every time I get a chance to tackle, or chest-up somebody, or hip-tag, make sure I do that with the right angles and the right bend in my knees and stuff. Just go out there and play football like I know I can. I know I'm great, I know I can do everything that I'm capable of, and [what] other people are capable of. So, I've just got to go out there and handle my part and uphold the standard that our defense requires."
On what he's seen from the veterans in terms of the response after Sunday's loss: "It hurts. Anytime you lose, it hurts. And then when you lose like that, it hurts for sure – and to a division opponent. We've just got to move on. We already moved on. We're already working towards the next opponent. So, we've just got to pick up the pieces, communicate, execute, uphold that standard like I said that's required over here, and we'll be fine."