Ravens Wednesday OTA Transcripts

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement:"Good afternoon. Good to see everybody. I appreciate you guys coming out. Beautiful day for football – guys really appreciate the heat a little bit. We've had a couple hot days this week – that's helped us to 'climatize' us a little bit for training camp and for the early part of the season. So, it's been positive. I'm happy with the guys. The work has been very good and I think we get better every single day. The main thing we're focusing on during the OTAs is execution – learning what we have to do and learning how to do it and trying to do it well. So when you get into situations when you're competing – and we do work situations, as you saw out here today – but we're thinking not about the basics or the fundamentals as much as we're thinking about the situation and trying to find a way to win the situation. But you've got to build into that. You've got to work your way into that, and that's the process we're going through now.

"I just want to mention a couple of names – I've got K.O. [Kelechi Osemele] and Eugene [Monroe] written down here – the left side of the offensive line … Those guys, they're looking very good, and they've been working really hard. If you see these guys on their own, you see these guys early, late; you're probably going to see these two guys in the weight room or the meeting room working, and they've done a great job. Our young guys are doing a good job – I think of Matt Elam right off the bat. I've spent a lot of time with Matt in the last two days, just talking. He has really good control of the back end. It's pretty seamless. I haven't seen too many miscommunications, and I don't think any when Matt's been back there. He's really grown as a second-year player, so that's been a real plus. Arthur [Brown] is another guy that has grown as a second-year player, knows what he's doing – he's playing fast. You can probably say that about pretty much all the guys who we drafted last year. I'm happy with where we are, but we have a long way to go."* *

As far as Jimmy Smith, everyone talks about how much he grew last year. It seems like he's a lot more confident out here now, do you see that as well? (Jamison Hensley) "Jimmy's confidence – to me, confidence follows talent, but it also follows understanding your position really well. He, more than ever since he's been here, understands how to play corner. He's playing the fundamentals really well. He's square, his eyes are in the right place, he's got the right leverage, he knows where his help is – it makes playing a lot easier. You're not chasing your tail out there as a corner. That's what's bringing that confidence."

Do you match Jimmy up with the other team's top receiver? Or how do you see that playing out? (Mike Preston)"That's a good question – I think you could do that, maybe based on gameplan [or] body-type. Jimmy and Lardarius [Webb] are probably two different kinds of body -type, two different styles of players. You might match Jimmy up with a bigger, physical guy; you might match Lardarius up with a quicker, change-of-direction guy, but it's not really been a big part of what we've done in the past. We've been more a team that lines up and plays, usually, so it would be an exception to the rule for us to do that. But I think you're right, we could do that."

Now that you're on the practice field how has Gary Kubiak's influence on the offense taken shape? Is it through drills or the way he runs practice? How has that kind of taken shape? (Garrett Downing)"That's just too broad. Gary's a great coach. To try and name all the different ways that he's impacted us – how much time do you have? He's a heck of a coach. The biggest thing that I'm impressed with, among many things, is how well-built the offense is. The offense is really well organized. It's built in such a way that it can be executed with speed and with confidence, and that's the goal, but yet have the answers you need to compete against the defenses that you're going to play against. But beyond that, the influence that you're talking about, he's obviously had a big impact, he's the coordinator on offense, and he's installing an offense that's new to the team here, but it becomes us. It becomes our offense. It becomes the Ravens' way, and he's doing a great job."

You talked about some second-year players. How is Brandon Williams doing? (Matt Zenitz) "Brandon Williams is another guy. Brandon has looked really good. He continues to get in great shape. The way he's built – you're not going to see that body-type too much. The amount of muscle he has packed on that frame of his is pretty incredible. He's explosive, he's quick, but he's playing [good] fundamentals. [Defensive line coach] Clarence [Brooks] has done a great job with him. I'm looking forward to when the pads get on, just to see how he does. The young defensive line looks good right now, but you know, we're out here running around in shorts."

With Brandon Williams, is he in the mix at the three-technique? Would it be more ideal for him to be at nose tackle? (Matt Zenitz)"He's a defensive tackle – to me that means you can play the nose, you can play any one of the shades, you play play zero-nose, you can play the shade, which is a gap-control on the center. You can play an inside-shade on the guard, you can play head-up on the guard or you can play a three-technique – which is what you're talking about – which is the outside-shade on the guard. That versatility – and Haloti [Ngata] can do the same thing – that gives you guys that can move around a little bit."* *

How does Courtney Upshaw look to you? Is he where you want him to be weight-wise, or do you want him to come down a little? (Matt Zenitz)"He looks like he's in really good shape. We'll start monitoring the weight a little more closely [but] he's in the ballpark. It's not like he's out of shape, weight-wise. He's close, no problem getting through practice. He looks good. We're happy with him."*


What are the steps you like to see in terms of the progression of your quarterbacks' footwork? (Glenn Younes)"It's probably just consistency. It's probably just doing them over and over and over again. That's this offense. Certain route combinations are done on one footwork, and then other route combinations are done on the next footwork, and it's all right there in the package. We just have to do it over and over again and kind of groove that. It's a timing offense, and to me Joe [Flacco] is really built for that. It suits him, so he gets better at it every day."* *

After a successful rookie season where do you see Marlon Brown growing? (Ryan Mink)"Everywhere. Marlon is young, just running routes, controlling his body, radius catches, blocking, you name it – he's got to get better. He's a young guy, he's one of those guys going into his second year, and they need to get better at everything." * *

Kelechi Osemele had surgery in November, but he seems to be getting more explosive week-by-week. How much has he progressed throughout the practices and workouts? (Jeff Zrebiec)"As far as explosiveness, it's hard to gauge that for any player, because we're not hitting out here. I don't think you can really evaluate the power that a guy has, but I don't doubt that it's in there with him if you just watch the way he moves. He looks good. He's going to be a lot better than he was last year. He's healthy, so it makes a big difference. I'm looking forward to seeing him once we put the pads on."*


Are you going to give him some snaps at tackle or do you want him to exclusively lock in at playing guard? (Jamison Hensley)"We can't lock ourselves into saying one thing or another, because we just don't know how it's going to play out. He gives us flexibility because he can move out to tackle, but I sure like the way he and Eugene [Monroe] look over on that left side. That's the direction we're heading right now and hopefully we can maintain that course."*


How has Ryan Jensen been out there at tackle for you guys? (Glenn Younes)"He looks good. He was out there in a few scuffles out there today, he's got good feet, he's tough. He plays a little bigger than 6'3 ½ or whatever it is. You've seen guys that size play in this offense plenty of times before, so I think it's going to be a heck of a battle."*


How much weight did Ryan Jensen and Rick Wagner gain since last year? (Mike Preston)"That's a good question. I don't know the exact number, but I would say they've definitely changed their composition at least. They do look a lot better – they're just stronger looking guys. They're more muscular. [Head strength and conditioning coach] Bob Rogucki, you get in this weight room here … Do any of you guys need a work out? Let me know. Bob will put you through it, but you'll be sorry pretty quick that you asked. He trains guys how to really … Terrence Cody is a good example; Terrence had been a junior college player, had only been at Alabama for two years, [and] we were shocked about the way he lifted weights when he first got here. Terrence laughs about it now, [but] watch him workout today. A lot of young guys come in – you only get 20 hours in college to work on this stuff, there's only so much time –sometimes they learn how to do something as simple as lifting weights and it makes a big difference in their body in the first year."*


With some of the veterans not here, did they communicate about not being here? (Aaron Wilson)"They communicate all the time with what they're doing or not doing. So, yes, we're happy with the communication level with our guys."*


How big is it to get Kelechi Osemele back out there healthy? (Matt Zenitz)"How big? How big? It's so big. It's as big as the building. It's as big as the city. It's the whole word big. (laughter) *I don't know how big it is, it's big! It's important. The offensive line is important, and having good players in there really helps. K.O. is a really good player and your point is well taken. It's going to be important for us. It's big." *(laughter)

S Matt Elam

On how he feels he has progressed compared to this time last year:"I feel like I got a lot more confident than I did last year because it's [my] second year. I'm more confident in the playbook and I've been studying a lot this offseason. I'm very confident and I feel like I know what I'm doing, so I'm able to take the next step."

On his rookie season and being a tough critic of himself:"I wasn't happy about it at all. That's why I approached the offseason the way I did – getting myself in shape, losing weight, getting myself fit and in-shape physically and mentally [to] get myself right to take the next step. That's why I feel like I'm so confident. I know the playbook a little more because I watched a lot of film. I feel like I had to take the next step and that's what I'm trying to do."

On the difference in getting ready for this offseason:"I just feel like getting my body right. Last year I came in a little heavier and I feel like I had to run around a little more this year, so I toned up a little bit and then the mental part – that, too. [I've been] studying the game more, learning more about the game so I can be confident and take that next step to get guys lined up and do the extra things to make more plays for the team."

On if he weighed about 210 pounds last summer:"Yes. I was up there and I don't want to be up there this year. I want to be a little lighter so I can run around a little more. I'm 200 pounds right now, so I'm feeling very good."

On if one of his goals was to be the quarterback of the defense:"I know that's one of the reasons why they brought me in [here] because they lost a great one. They're looking for somebody to come in here and make calls and get guys lined up, and just be confident in the back end and just take control. I feel like I can take the next step now because I'm learning every day. I'm learning more about the game, I'm studying more and I feel like I can take that next step."

On CB Jimmy Smith's leadership:"He's very determined. He really wants to win. I see that he wants to improve. I see that because he's focused on another level this year and I can see it. I'm learning from him. I'm behind him in the individual drills, I see how hard he's going and I'm just feeding off that energy. I see how bad he wants it and that makes me want it even more."

On having Smith and CB Lardarius Webb playing in front of him and how that helps him:"That's an honor to play with two good corners, like Webb, [who's] been in the league for six years and knows about the game, and just learning from him. It gives me a lot of confidence when he tells me I'm doing well. That just gives me a lot of confidence and lets me play with more swag on the back end. To learn from him and Jimmy, it's a great opportunity for me."

On the benefits of having corners like Webb and Smith on defense:"That helps us out a lot. The safeties can be very aggressive and we can learn a lot, to allow them to be aggressive so that we can be over top them and help them out so they can be aggressive and make plays."

On taking time off from working at the shoe store to come to OTAs:"It was fun. It was a great experience. I just tried to get that retail knowledge so that I have plans in the future. It was a great time just making kids' days coming in there when they realized who I was. I'm always about the kids, so it was a great time."

On if he feels like he became pretty good at selling shoes:"I feel like I got better as the days [went] along – just like on the football field. As the days went by, I progressed." (laughter)

On if he prefers to play free safety or strong safety:"It really doesn't matter. It got to the point where I studied the game so much and learned so much that it really doesn't matter. Whatever it is to help the team win; if it's free safety, strong safety, rock and roll – it really doesn't matter, whatever I can do to help the team win. I just want to make plays and help us get back to where we want to be."

On if he enjoys playing closer to the line of scrimmage:"That's what I did in college because I played a lot of nickel. I was closer to the line of scrimmage, so I was more confident. In high school playing linebacker, that's what I was more confident at, but I just feel like you have to take the next step. You have to build your stock [and] you have to be able to do more – play the nickel, play free, strong, play corner. I just want to do whatever I can to help this team win and get back to where we were."

On what he has seen from rookie S Terrence Brooks:"You have to have that confidence. That's what it's going to take in the back end. You have to have confidence; you have to know what you're doing. If you know what you're doing, you'll have confidence and you'll play fast. He's a very smart guy [that] knows what he's doing. All it's going to take is the confidence and him knowing that he can do it. That's all it's going to take, and just continuing to study. He can be great."

On Brooks' athleticism:"He's very athletic. He's a Florida boy – it's in our water." (laughter)

On being in the same position as Brooks last season as a rookie safety:"I just try to keep him positive. The day he got drafted, I shot him a text and told him that it [isn't much] different from college – you just have to study. You have to study a little more and get a better understanding of the game. That's all I told him. I try to keep him positive. 'Don't overwhelm yourself. Enjoy the time and continue to get better.'"

On the competition in the defensive backfield:"Everybody's flying around. Everybody's playing with swag. Everybody's playing with confidence right now. I feel like we're all going to push each other and make each other better. I'll leave it up to the coaches about the competition. I just see a lot of guys getting better on the back end and have a lot of confidence. I feel like it's going to make everybody better and that's going to make us a great team and a great defense."

 

T Eugene Monroe

On how much it helps him to know that he will be in Baltimore for the upcoming season, compared to last year when he was traded halfway through the year:"It's definitely a good situation to be here the entire offseason, knowing who you're going to play with and getting better together. It has been fun; I've been enjoying it."* *

On what he thinks about C Jeremy Zuttah being a part of the offensive line:"I've known [Jeremy] for a while, dating back to high school. I've seen him on film, crossing and playing the same teams, and he's popping up on film in Tampa. He's a good player. He's taking command of what we're doing on the O-line and doing his best to give us the direction that he has to. And he's going to grind; he's going to work. So, I'm glad to have him."* *

On Zuttah's skill set and how well he will fit on the offensive line:"I think perfectly. You've got to be able to move, you've got to be able to run to do what we do. He excels at that. I think everyone in our group does."* *

On what he has seen as far as the progress that G/T Kelechi Osemele has made to this point in the offseason:"I've been seeing him play for a while, even his rookie year. He hasn't dropped a beat. He's back to his usual self, running around. [He is] one of the best-conditioned guys on the field, just grinding and trying to get better. We are even having to slow him down a little bit because it has been a while since he played, and we have certain rules we have to follow right now. We're just working together every day. I'm glad he's right next to me, I really am."* *

On what he sees from T Rick Wagner as he works to become a potential starter:"Rick is doing well. [Michael Oher] was ahead of him last year, but I got to see Rick every day in practice. I know he's fighting for that spot; he wants it. It's up to him to take it."* *

On what he sees from OL Ryan Jensen as he works to become a potential starter this year:"He's in the same boat. He's already been moved around a little bit, but he can play pretty much any position on the line. So having that versatility is always unique and key."* *

On how much the offensive line's struggles from last year, due to injuries or personnel change, were internalized by the team and will serve as motivation to make a difference moving forward this year:"Honestly, what happened last year doesn't matter. It's a new year; everyone has the same opportunity to make a statement. So, whatever was talked about last year, it means absolutely nothing."* *

On the differences in Gary Kubiak's offensive scheme and how he sees the line adjusting:"It's a little different. Last year, we were lining up in a lot of one-back stuff, a lot of empty stuff, tossing the ball out there, coming out throwing on first down. I don't think that's the history with Gary. I think he wants to run the ball a little bit, which would be fun."* *

On if he feels that the running backs will be able to run on the left side with him and Osemele lined up there:"I feel like, by the time the season starts, we'll be able to run anywhere."* *

On if he feels that the team has camaraderie and chemistry this year:"I haven't really sensed any issues in terms of that. I think everyone is getting along. Everyone is working together, and everyone is having fun coming here every day."

On if he feels like the offense is tailored for what he does well:"This offense is similar to what I have done before. I'm an athlete, so regardless of what I'm asked to do, I'll be able to get it done."* *

On if there is an emphasis, coming from Gary Kubiak, on re-establishing the game to get the running game back:"I don't know about reestablishing anything. I think everything is new. He's new here. We've got to run the ball to win. That's what it comes down to. I believe that we'll do a good job of that."* *

On his early impressions of the offensive unit in general:"There's no contact, but you can still work on key things. [It's] a lot of footwork things, a lot of hand-placement things. Even though we're not really combative in there, we can still get really good work done. I think that's happening."* *

On how he feels rookie DT Timmy Jernigan looks:"Good. That kid is really quick-twitch, really explosive and strong. When they introduced all of the rookies in our first meeting, they put on a clip of him, and he just bench pressed a guy, threw him off and made a tackle. Hopefully, we can get a lot of that out of him."    

G/T Kelechi Osemele

On his excitement being back on the practice field:"I'm excited to back. It really sucked being out last year. When you lose something, you really appreciate it more and more. I'm just excited to be out here playing with my teammates."

On how it has been working with T Eugene Monroe:"I always felt like we gelled, even last year. Before I had the surgery I felt like we gelled well. He does a good job of communicating early, trying to get on the same page. As long as he keeps doing that, we're not going to have a problem this year. He's really good about being a professional."

On when he started to make progress following his surgery in November:"I would probably say about two-and-a-half months after. At around three months, I really felt good. I started training hard again after that, which was right on schedule with what the doctor was saying. But honestly, after about a month after the surgery, I really felt fine."

On if he has a preference in playing at guard or tackle:"Left guard because of the ridiculous amount of reps that we have at practice every day. That's muscle memory, so that's what I'm comfortable with. Obviously getting the best five out there is what we're going to do."

On what he went through mentally while recovering from his injury:"My mindset – I'm pretty stubborn – so I was already telling myself I was going to be back out there, even to the point where I was sneaking in workouts. To me, in my mind, it never crossed my mind that I wasn't going to be playing."

On the team's confidence in the run game this year:"We're pretty confident, especially with Coach [Gary] Kubiak's zone scheme coming in here and really getting on the ball fast, and flying around and getting to our landmarks and stuff like that. I really feel confident about that. It's not just the scheme, but it's also the pace that we move at. It's going to be really good to get guys out here running [while] also changing it up to go downfield."

On if that scheme fits the personnel really well:"It's been coming together well. We're not where we need to be, but we'll get there. I feel like everybody's basically building blocks every day, everybody's getting more comfortable with the system. I feel like probably midway through camp we'll have it down, because it's pretty complicated. It's an extensive playbook. It's a lot of plays, but at the same time, it's just football."

On whether his athleticism is underrated:"I don't really know. I don't really pay attention to what people say, so I can't really answer that."

On what led to his decision or knowing that his injury last year was something he needed to address:"I think the medical term is incontinence. Is that what they call it? Trouble peeing and stuff. I think that's probably when I knew there was something I probably had to address, because it could be permanent."

On what's changed since his injury and what he has to do differently:"[I] can't do elliptic lifts, power cleaning, anything over the head, vertical compression, squats and stuff like that. I have to switch up the routine in the weight room. A lot of core stuff, stability and flexibility – extra stuff on my own time to make sure that I'm healthy."

On how strong of a tandem he's built with T Eugene Monroe:"With Eugene, he's really athletic. [There's] not a lot of times where I have to come off my guy on a slide to go in and help Eugene. Obviously that's going to make us more stout in the middle, because he's so athletic that he can kind of be on an island. Working with him, it should really shore up our protection."

On if his injury held him back early last season and knowing when it was time to address it:"It was on me, for sure. The way that I trained, being a young guy, and knowing that I had that issue, I didn't train very smart. It was definitely on me [and] the way that I had been training. Obviously without knowledge of how bad that it was and then throughout the season getting those multiple MRIs, and seeing the condition worsen and already being at a point where you have to [play] because you've been taking all the reps. I ate up all the reps and then couldn't play to my ability. That obviously hurt the team and having to throw A.Q. [Shipley] out there, and he hadn't taken all those reps with the ones. So, yes, [it] definitely affected me."

On digesting the offensive terminology:"With having new players in there, part of it is scheme and getting down a new offense and another part of it is the reps. It is really muscle memory, so it's going to take a lot of repetitions, just like to be great at anything in life. It'll take a lot of repetitions in order for you to master your craft. It's just going to take time."

On when his injury flared up originally last season:"The initial injury was in college, but I played through it my rookie year. Then I tried to turn it up a notch with the goal in mind of a Pro Bowl coming into my second year. Doing that, it worsened the injury. It was already a pre-existing condition – [that's] what they called it."

On when he tried to turn it up a notch:"Yes, the offseason before my second year in the NFL."

On what exactly his surgical procedure was:"They shaved off some of the cartilage and bone and [left] some of it there for cushioning because it's a collision sport. I don't know what they call it – it's like a something '-sectomy,' I don't know. No idea what that's called."

On if he has any doubt that he can get back to his old form:"That's always going to be the expectation for me as a player. Knowing the ability that I have and my work ethic, I feel like I would be an underachiever if that wasn't my goal. That's always going to be my goal."

On working with offensive line coach Juan Castillo and his coaching style:"There's never been a problem with Juan's coaching style. It's just a lot of hard work, a lot of reps. He likes to see us do it over and over and over again until we're not thinking about it. That's just how we do it – we grind. Everybody's standing around towards the beginning of practice when we're driving guys off the ball."

On DT Brandon Williams' and DT Timmy Jernigan's development:"They're really progressing. I feel like every year Brandon [William]'s been getting stronger. He's definitely taking the weight room seriously and you can kind of see that. And Jernigan, the young guy, he's flashing a lot. He's playing fast, especially for being a young guy and being thrown in there with the ones every now and then and it being a new system and everything. He's really coming along really well. We really need him to contribute this year and I think he has the ability to do that."

On how he feels physically:"This is the best I've felt since I was probably like 19 or 20. I feel great."

CB Jimmy Smith

On if football has been feeling fun for him these days:"Football has been fun. I got injured when I first stepped on the field, so of course it slowed me down. [I missed] minicamp with the rookies in the offseason [and] OTAs, so my career did get off to a slow start, but I've always had fun. I love the game, so that's never going to change."

On maintaining the same offseason workout regimen:"I stayed with it. I stayed the same – a lot of core. Basically it's all core stuff, but I stayed with the same regimen to keep my body in shape. It's important."

On if he has changed in size since last season:"No. I'm probably the same size exactly – about 205."

On the Ravens picking up the option on his contract:"This is football. That means they like me for this year. Hopefully they like me for years after to come."

On his evaluation of his performance in 2013:"I think I started coming into my own as the season progressed. Obviously, looking back, I'm probably the worst critic of myself and I think I could have played a lot better [and] had a lot more turnovers, [based on the] things that I've seen. I think it was an OK year and I think I should build off of it."

On if he feels like he's better now compared to last season:"I feel like in the league you get better as every year progresses. You get more comfortable, you learn concepts more and you understand the scheme of the defense. Right now I'm very comfortable in the defense. I understand it with a year under my belt starting already, so right now I'm just trying to understand more offense than I am trying to understand my position."

On the importance of cornerbacks creating turnovers:"Exactly. As a corner, you want to have 15 interceptions. It might not happen being a man-to-man corner, but you want to watch the film and see exactly what you did wrong or how you can make your game a little bit better. I didn't play a lot of off-coverage, so when I play off-coverage I look for certain things about how I'm playing it and what I can do to make it better so that teams will throw at me a lot and I can get some interceptions."

On what he's doing to learn more about offense:"Concepts, really, depending on what the team's running, obviously. In film, you're looking for whatever formations the team's getting in. You want to get a few plays every game where you feel like you could steal something. That's more of what I'm focused on. I know our defense, and I try to get better at mastering that, but at the same time I want to understand the offense and what they're trying to do to me so I can make more plays for our team."

On the differences he's seen in S Matt Elam entering his second season:"Like I said, the more the years stack up, the more comfortable you get. He's made a big leap from Year One to Year Two. And if you ask him, he's going to tell you that he had a bad rookie season, but he doesn't understand what he did as a rookie. You can see his confidence grow from last year to right now. On the field he's making the checks [and] making the calls. Last year that was James [Ihedigbo] making those calls and Elam was back there with big eyes like, 'OK, just follow him'. Now he's making the checks. He's making the calls. That's a big progression for all our safeties because our safeties make a ton of calls on our defense."

On his personal goals for the season:"I just want to go back to the Super Bowl. Personally, that's what I want to do."

On how high he thinks his ceiling is:"You can't ask me that. Can you touch the sky? That's how high it is."

On being on the other side of his early-career learning curve:"Absolutely. You can't play with a high sprain, and I didn't get a chance to come in like all these rookies do now and have the full OTAs and be one-on-one with the coaches. I literally came in the day of training camp and was thrust into the fire. [I'm] not making any excuses, but that's just how it happened. I just so happened to get hurt on that first play, so it definitely slowed down how my career started. And then in the second year [I had] another injury. That's the way God works. That's how it happens."

On his impressions of S Darian Stewart and what type of player he is:"He's a smart player. I think he's getting a good grasp of the defense. He knows where to be [and] covers the post well. He's still learning, obviously. Like I said, our defense is really a lot of calls by the safeties, a lot of checks. It's a lot for him to learn but I think – four days into it – he's getting it pretty well."

On if he and CB Lardarius Webb are competing with each other to be the No. 1 corner:"You have no idea how much. Webby lives up the street from me. This is non-stop, 1A-1B. We go back and forth all the time about who is better, but it's all friendly love. When we're out here and when we play video games together, everything counts – no matter what it is. It's friendly competition. Obviously we're both out there trying to make plays, but me and Webby always go back and forth [with each other]. It's a fun, friendly competition. We know we're not taking each other's spots, it's just one of those [things]."

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