Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "[It's] good to see everybody. I appreciate everybody being here. I really appreciate everybody being here, right? I mean, it's been a while. We said that and we always meant it, and everybody appreciated being here, right? But now you realize it's really cool. We had a tough year, and it's so awesome to be through that to a pretty good degree – not completely. But here we are, at least we're standing on the patio and we're talking about training camp practice. Life is good. There are a lot of big issues in the world, and we're not talking about them – we're talking about football. So, it's great to be a part of it, and I really appreciate everybody here. I appreciate all of you guys.
"We had a heck of a practice. It was really fun to watch. The energy was high. I thought guys were on point. It was a disciplined practice for the first day. We didn't have too many mistakes, but we're chasing perfection in everything we do. We have a lot of work to do in every area, but we're off to a really good start. So, I'm really happy with the guys in that sense. The fans – it was great to have the fans out, wasn't it? I mean that was really cool. It's just a different energy coming out [with] people screaming and yelling. It's just the way it's supposed to be.
"An announcement – I'm sure it's news with COVID. Gus Edwards tested positive for COVID, and Lamar Jackson tested positive for COVID. So, those two guys will be put into the protocol, and that's really the extent that we can comment on those two guys in that sense at this time. What questions do you have?"
For both of those players [QB Lamar Jackson and RB Gus Edwards], will they be out for 10 days? Is that the protocol? (Jamison Hensley) "There's different protocols. We're just not allowed to comment on any of those individual cases. I can tell you generally, we're doing really well in terms of vaccinations and in terms of positive tests. Beyond that, we have no other positive tests. Even Lamar [Jackson] tested negative up until. So, it's just part of the deal. It's just the way the world is right now. We have 90% vaccinated, and I think we're going to go above that, too, real soon here. We're in really great shape for the vaccinations. So, that's where we're at with that."
QB Lamar Jackson came in, his first test when he reported and that was fine? And he has since tested positive? (Morgan Adsit) "He tested negative until yesterday. So, he started testing on Thursday [or] Wednesday. He started testing on Wednesday, I think. Wednesday or Thursday."
If it is 10 days to not have your starting quarterback out there at training camp, the fact that you have two weeks on the other side of the preseason, how important is that? Does that maybe minimize the fact that he's not here now? (Pete Gilbert) "Certainly. All of those things you take into account. He had four good days before that throwing. So, it's all good. But it's no different than if somebody gets an injury. You tweak an ankle or something and you're out for some number of days – it's just part of football. To me, whenever you have a problem [or] whenever something comes up like that, you embrace it. You kind of almost rejoice in it, because it's an opportunity to improve somewhere else. You take advantage of the opportunity to gain an advantage in some different kind of way that you wouldn't have had otherwise. So, look for that – that's the opportunity you look for in any kind of situation like that. So, that's how our guys did it. We had a good practice, and we're moving forward."
You mentioned opportunity. Obviously, QB Trace McSorley and QB Tyler Huntley got more reps than they would have normally competing for a backup job – the No. 2 job. What did you see from both of them today? What sort of opportunity is it for people like them to get as many reps as they're going to get here? (Jeff Zrebiec) "That's a great point. Those guys had all the reps, and they did well, didn't they? I mean, you guys watched the practice. I think you'd probably say they had a good practice. So, I was pleased with them. It's only going to bolster those two guys and make those guys stronger than they would have been otherwise, and it helps our team be better. You're exactly right about that." (Reporter: "Is QB Kenji Bahar officially signed?") "He's signed."
Can you go behind your confidence – even before this – in having QB Trace McSorley and QB Tyler Huntley as one of those guys who will be the backup, even though they don't have a lot of experience? (Jamison Hensley) "It's definitely something you think about. I've seen you guys have written about that, but you have to find the best people, really at every position, for you team and what you do. So, we like those two guys – they fit our offense well. Are there veterans out there that might fit our offense well? There might be. There are guys. You can look at those guys, but there's not a lot. There are a lot of quarterbacks out there, but do they fit us? To me, these guys fit us a lot better than most of the guys out there, and they're good players. They're very talented guys, and they're very determined guys. Let's give them a shot and see how they do. I think they're going to do really well."
What does WR Sammy Watkins bring to you guys with his experience and versatility? How will he help that receiver corps? (Mike Jones) "Just what you said – experience and versatility. He's a pro. He's been there before. He's a fourth [overall] pick in the Draft. He's a talented guy. He loves ball. He has lot of insight for those guys. The other thing is his competitiveness. [His] play-to-play competitiveness [and] his size. He's a physical guy. I think he's excited about the program here in terms of work ethic. I think he sees some things here that are going to give him an opportunity to maybe take a step he hasn't taken the last few years with what he's doing physically to get his body right. We'll see how he does."
I wanted to know what areas of improvement you've seen in WR Marquise Brown, including hand placement? (Mike Preston) "As far as catching the ball?" (Reporter: "Yes.") "I think that's a big part of it, for sure. That's something we've worked really hard on. The biggest areas of improvement I think are going to show up in the next week or so. So, I'm looking forward to seeing that. But what I anticipate seeing, and what we saw in the OTAs are takeoff … Stance, start, takeoff and then route running at the top of the break. I think those things have improved … I think we'll see they've improved dramatically. And then, as you said, hand placement – you saw it on the deep balls today, right? I mean, his hands were in a good spot. So, that's a good observation."
CB Marlon Humphrey comes in as a first-round pick, a unique talent and all of that. You've seen his whole career. How has he grown from his rookie year to now? What could be next for him? (Bo Smolka) "He's already … He's played that way. I've felt like the last year and a half or so he's one of the top corners in the league. I'm talking Top 2, [Top] 3, [Top] 4 in the league. Now, everybody else is maybe starting to see what we've all seen, because we watch him every single week. But he's a physical guy. The thing about Marlon [Humphrey], and what the other guys watch about Marlon is when he runs a drill, he doesn't just run a drill. He runs a drill as if it's the last play in the Super Bowl. He comes out of a break trying to gain ground, like he's trying to go make a play on a ball in a critical situation – every single rep. When you do it like that, you can't help but get better."
I think most of the guys not practicing today are either on the COVID/Reserve list or on the PUP list, but CB Anthony Averett was not on either of those. What is his status? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Anthony [Averett] has to pass his conditioning test to pass the physical. So, that's where he's at."
We saw, I think at one point, C/G Bradley Bozeman kind of throw aside a glove after a bad snap. Was it just an issue of him trying to find the right fit on a hot and humid day like this? (Jonas Shaffer) "I mean, [it's] the first time in that kind of a setting where it's a little more of a competitive practice. It looked like it helped, so I was happy he did it. I said something to him, and he said, 'I threw my glove away.' I was like, 'Good.' (laughter) But we're chasing perfection with that. We're going to do it under center. We're going to do it in the gun. We're going to do it in the pistol. We have to be perfect. The timing of the snaps is really important. With the way we run our offense, with the ball handling, the plays we run in the backfield, it helps a lot for the snap to be where it's supposed to be. Now, that's a hard thing to chase. Perfection on gun snaps is hard going against the guys you're going against, but that's what we're trying to achieve."
Question for you in this COVID world given that so much is new. Have the medical people indicated to you that a second time testing positive for QB Lamar Jackson is of greater concern or less concern? Do you know, have they said anything? (Mark Viviano) "No, they haven't brought up that it's of any greater concern. It just is what it is. You can obviously get COVID and then get it again – that's kind of been demonstrated. That's all I really know."
WR Marquise Brown
On if it felt different at practice without QB Lamar Jackson: "Not really. Everybody was excited. Of course, we wanted him out here, but everybody was excited. The atmosphere was good, so we were having fun."
On how much optimism there is with the passing game: "It's exciting. To work with the new coaches, with new receivers, everybody pushing each other [and] everybody wanting to be the best they can be, it's exciting and fun."
On what new coaches in wide receivers coach Tee Martin and pass game specialist Keith Williams bring: "We attack all bases from route running, to releases, to blocking. Whatever we have to do, we make sure we get it done before we even get with the defense. So, that's been a good addition."
On his relationship with pass games specialist Keith Williams and what it's like to work with him: "He was one of my first scholarship offers when I was in junior college – him and [wide receivers] Coach Tee Martin. So, I have a good relationship with those guys. Coach Tee, he came to my house when I was in junior college for a home visit. So, just to be with those guys now, it's crazy how life works."
On if either wide receivers coach Tee Martin or pass game specialist Keith Williams give him any guff for going to Oklahoma: "[Pass game specialist] Coach Keith [Williams], he does. He was like, 'I got you first. I was one of the first ones.' (laughter) But Coach Tee [Martin], they actually pulled out their offer right before signing day. So, I've been getting on him for that." (laughter)
On if there are any differences in the scheme in terms of downfield passes compared to last season: "No. [Offensive coordinator] Coach [Greg] Roman has a playbook. Everything we're still running is there. We just have to perfect what he has us doing. Once we show that in practice, then they'll get more comfortable to call it in a game. So, it's on us to just show what we can do."
On if there's any concern that there have been players who have tested positive for COVID at the start of training camp: "For me, no, because I trust every man in the building to take care of one another. When hiccups like this happen, all we can do is rally around that guy, send our prayers and send our support. Hopefully, he'll be back very soon. But for me, I'm just trying to take every step to be safe myself and just come play football."
On what he's learned from WR Sammy Watkins: "I've learned a lot from Sammy [Watkins] – mentality, mindset. How he comes out here, he knows what he has to do. Just by getting here, he pushes us, and we push him. So, it's going to be a great relationship."
On what wearing No. 5 means to him: "It means a lot. That's my favorite number. Since my second year in peewee football, I had No. 5 because of Reggie Bush. So, being able to wear No. 5, it means a lot."
On what impact QB Lamar Jackson being away from practice has on the offense: "Of course, having the reps with him means a lot. But for us, as a receiver, if we're out here working and we're wide open, he just has to come back and get us the ball. While he's out, we have to do the best we can to make sure we're better for him."
CB Marlon Humphrey
On his excitement level for training camp: "Man, it's very exciting to be back. It really seems like a new thing. I remember I walked in, I guess, two days ago, and I saw the lunchroom tables, and I was excited. (laughter) So, it seems like I'm a rookie again, just because everything that I think makes this place so special to me is the family atmosphere that [head coach John] Harbaugh and [owner Steve] Bisciotti and [executive vice president & general manager Eric] DeCosta welcome in. You're allowed to be yourself. It's kind of hard to do that … Well, last year it was hard to do that with some of the restrictions, but I'm happy that if you're vaccinated, you get a little bit more freedom in the building and everything. So, it's really exciting to be back, but it even makes it even better just with some of the vaccination things and allowing it just to be what makes this place so special."
On if it feels strange that COVID-19 could still be a factor this season: "Yes, I would say with anything in this life, anybody can get sick; anybody can get hurt and not be out here. So, even though you're back to normal, there's still the reality that someone can get the flu, someone can get bronchitis. There are a lot of different sicknesses that can hold somebody out. But like I said earlier, it's just great to be back and be able to be so united."
On being an advocate for the vaccine through social media: "For me, I don't really go too much into detail with different things about numbers and different things like that, but I have a cousin who works in the hospital, and she kind of tells me different things here and there. It seems like initially when the vaccine came out, I had already had corona[virus] earlier in the year, and so I was waiting to see what the NFL was going to do. I like to follow whatever the NFL is kind of promoting, and that's been one of the biggest things – is to get the vaccine – from the NFL, and as a worker underneath that title, I try to do what I can to fall in line; that makes everything kind of go. So, I didn't want anything to hold me back. I didn't want to get the corona[virus] and miss a big game, like last year. That really sucked – watching my guys play the Colts last year, and I was at the house all excited. I felt fine but I couldn't' play, because the days. So, I just don't want anything to hold me back, that's been one of the biggest things. I think it's a personal choice for anybody. If you don't want it, you don't have to [get it], but I think everyone should address it as such. You just have to know there are certain things that might hold you back. So, that ultimately comes up to your choice, but different guys have religious things, different guys just don't feel comfortable, different guys have health things. There are a lot of different things that could affect that – whether you can or cannot get it – but like I said, for me, the biggest thing [is] I didn't want it to hold me back, and I felt like from the top up, the NFL has kind of been really pushing it, and I wanted to be a part of that group that got it."
On having CB Tavon Young back: "Man, it feels great to have 'Tay' [Tavon Young] back. I filled in his spot at the nickel for the past kind of two years, but I'm happy to have him back. I can move back outside, and me, 'M.P.' [Marcus Peters], Jimmy [Smith] and Tavon [Young] – that's a pretty strong four. So, I'm really excited to have him back. I know what he can do on the field, so him getting healthy, him being back out there, it's great."
On how the backup quarterbacks performed without QB Lamar Jackson at practice today: "I thought they performed very well. The ball went up top a lot today, so that's really good. I think that's the NFL – when a guy has a hamstring, when a guy has something small and might have to miss a game here and there, and those guys have got to step up. So, I think Trace [McSorley] and 'Snoop' [Tyler Huntley] and [Kenji Bahar] all did really well. I couldn't even tell who was throwing the ball a lot of times. I just remember seeing, looking up, trying to find the ball and it being right in the spot where it was supposed to be."
On how his family has helped him get to where he is today: "For me, my family has just done a great job. A lot of people talk about my mom and dad, but being with my siblings, if you played bad, it wasn't the most fun dinner at the house, so you were definitely going to be told about it, and there wasn't really much quitting in my household. But my mom and dad – mom, being All-American in track, and my father being an All-American in football … My dad told me just so many stories when I was younger about from really A to Z – blowing money, people taking money from you, different things behind his contract, all types of things. I remember hearing the same stories when I was six [to] all the way when I was 22, and then I'd get in those same situations, and I'm like, 'Well, I don't think I should do this, because I feel like I've already lived it.' So, he's been so much more than a father for me – mentor, helped my contract, agent-wise. He's just done a lot, and it's really been just really big to lean on them. And even my mom, I think about track at almost every phase. When I was elementary, when I was middle school, when I was high school, there was a kid I couldn't beat, and my mom told me, 'Just stick with it. Stick with it.' She thought that I could outwork those people that were beating me, and it always seemed to come true in track. So, there are a lot of different things that I've learned from both of them, along with my siblings, as well."
S Chuck Clark
On his excitement level for training camp: "It' very exciting to be back right now. Just coming out to practice, seeing the stands out here and the fans, it gives a sense of normalcy out here and that regular training camp feeling compared to last year. It's really exciting right now to be out here."
On if practice felt different without QB Lamar Jackson: "No, it's the game – next man up-type of thing. We just pray that he's alright, that he gets healthy, and everything is alright with that whole situation, but it's the next man up-type of thing. When he comes back, we're going to love him when he's back."
On having CB Tavon Young back and the continuity in the secondary: "When we've got 'Tay' [Tavon Young] out there, we can do so many different things, and we've got so many different elements. A lot of guys can fill in in different spots, and he just brings a different element to us, being out there. So, not having him last year kind of sucked, for real. But having him back out here in training camp – his personality, his character – we love having him back right now."
On the little adjustments this year compared to last year that he's glad to see: "Coming in, that's the first thing you see – the cafeteria tables. So, I was like, 'Oh, man. We've got the tables back.' We can all just sit together now and talk. Last year, we were all sitting at different single tables, talking across the room, and now we can all sit there, have a good brotherhood, camaraderie [and] whatnot. But that, and then I think in the locker rooms – just not having plexiglass up, trying to talk to the guy around you, around the plexiglass."
On if DE Calais Campbell seems like a guy who's been in the league for as long as he has been: "Definitely. If you ever just get to sit and talk with him one-on-one, he has stories. He's been in the league for a while – a lot of wisdom for you – and it's just cool to talk to him and here his stories and different things that he's been through in the league [and] how he's gotten this far."
On his early impressions of CB Brandon Stephens: "He's a young guy, willing to learn. He wants to learn, and he's willing to play different positions. He has the versatility to do it as well, and the body size and the athleticism to do it."
On how valuable a versatile skillset is in the secondary: "That's very valuable in this defense. That's what we preach around here. The more that you can do, that'll get you on the field, get you on the team. So, that's very valuable."
On how the end of last season sat with the team: "That one sucked. It left a bad feeling with all of us. We've still got that feeling. We left it out there, and we've got to come back and get it. But we know as a defense we've got to be better, honestly. And regardless of what goes on on the field – whatever happens – we have to be better."
On how he felt the offense performed today without QB Lamar Jackson: "They did good. It's next guy up. They didn't have anything to lose. Go play ball. That's what it is."