Special Teams Coordinator Chris Horton
Opening statement: "Good morning. [It's] good to see everyone. I'll just start off by saying it was a nice day, and it's been a really good two days of practice. We're doing everything we possibly can within the timeframe that we're getting, which is good time. Our guys are coming out. They're working hard. They're getting after it, and every day, we're just trying to get better. Questions?"
What have you liked about LS Nick Moore from the moment he arrived here last year to now being in a position where he's going to replace LS Morgan Cox who was your long snapper for such a long time? (Luke Jones) "The one thing when [special teams coach] Randy [Brown] actually went out to work him out … He was like, 'You know, Chris, I think we got us one.' So, having Nick [Moore] on the practice squad that whole time last year has really helped his development and, quite honestly, having Morgan [Cox] around and being able to learn from Morgan, those two guys are really close. They're good friends. They still talk to each other. So, Nick's just been doing everything the right way since the day he got here; from his punt snaps, to his field goal snaps, to the way he protects. We're getting the most out of him. It's good to have him around, and it's good to have him really for the whole entire year last year. So, it's like we have a guy that's really been on our team for an entire year, learning our system, learning from Morgan, learning from Justin [Tucker] and Sam [Koch] kind of how they want the ball [and] really learning from Randy. So, he's been doing everything the right way, and we really appreciate that we have him."
I know you care less about the name than how they play, but do those guys still consider themselves 'The Wolfpack?' Or is that a relic of the past? (Jonas Shaffer) "You know, that's a great question. I really haven't thought about it, and I really haven't talked to those guys about it. But again, Nick [Moore] was here and he was a part of 'The Wolfpack' last year. So, if that's what they call themselves, that's what they call themselves. I just know those three guys are going to go out and produce and really have a great year."
How are the rookies picking up special teams, especially the guys who didn't play there in college? (Todd Karpovich) "It's always a learning curve. What we do and kind of how we develop our guys, it's just one of those things. [We say,] 'Hey man, if you get out there and you come out there and you work, you will get better. But you have to be determined to come out there and get better.' Just like I said before, like I always say, if you just come out there, you work and you put the time in, we will develop you and we will teach you how to play special teams. For instance, Justice Hill – the guy was an awesome running back in college. He never played special teams. Well, what he did was he came here, he worked, we put him out there, we put him in a position to be successful and he's out there, he's having success and he's showing up for us on special teams. Every last one of these new guys, these young guys, that are here right now, they're working and they're getting better."
What do you think of the progression of K Jake Verity? (Ryan Mink) "The progression of Jake [Verity] – again, another one of [special teams coach] Randy's [Brown] finds. It's always good for us to have guys in here to really kick and help Justin [Tucker] and Sam [Koch] if we have a punter. Just having those guys in here, Jake has gotten better. From the time he got here to now, he just continues to get better. He's showing up in the team periods. He's kicking well when we're by ourselves. So, it'll be interesting to see how he continues to progress. Right now, he's doing a heck of a job."
We're getting close to the end of the second week of training camp. A lot of times, that's when guys start feeling it in their legs a little bit. How do you like the pace, especially in the special teams coaching? How do you like the pace of the guys? (Jamison Hensley) "Right now, after two days, I thought the pace … Some of you guys might have heard me screaming and yelling out there, because quite honestly, every day, we have to come out here and we have to get better. We can't waste time trying to feel sorry for ourselves because our legs hurt. We understand it's training camp, but there's going to be some fatigue. Well, it's my job as the coach to make sure I take care of these guys, but the reps have to be full speed – they have to be game-like. Right now, we're getting that from the guys. Early on in the start … Look at it, there's no sun out here. It's cloudy. It's early in the morning. So, it's my job to get those guys going in the morning. I think after a couple reps, we really got ourselves going."
Defensive Coordinator Don Martindale
Opening statement: "It seems like now it's a short time. We're seeing each other a lot now, huh? I like it. First two days in pads – I'm really pleased with where we're at right now. It's one of those things that … Like I said before we got into pads, I said, 'Wait until we get in pads,' and I like what I see. It's just demonstrating that physicality, especially for the younger guys. I was talking to some guys today about, 'I know Chuck Clark can tackle in space, but some of you younger safeties, you've got to prove you can tackle in space.' It's not down to the ground, live tackling, but fitting people up and things like that. But I've been really pleased with where we're at with the execution of the defense, the communication of the defense, and I think that we're right on track of where we need to be after the second day of pads, and we've just got to keep stacking those days."
When you talk about that physicality, is that CB Khalil Dorsey, coming up, punching that ball out? (Jamison Hensley) "Oh, yes, yes, because now you can see that live – no doubt. That was a good play. I wish he had a little tighter coverage on the tight end, but it was a good recovery. It was a day … Today, it was a big-time third-down situational practice, which gives the advantage to the defense, and that plays right to our sweet spot."
We were talking with C Bradley Bozeman yesterday, and he said that DT Justin Madubuike was one of the toughest guys to block he's faced. What have you seen from him in Year Two? (Daniel Oyefusi) "It's just like Patrick Queen, Malik Harrison; he goes in that same thing, of the next year, you see the biggest jump. I think he's really worked on his flexibility and strength in the offseason, which is a credit to him, and you're seeing it out there on the field. So, his role is just going to continue to grow in the defense."
S Ar'Darius Washington – undrafted guy – seems to have a nose for the football. What are his chances of making the team? He seems to be making an impact with you guys. (Todd Karpovich) "I think that's a question for [executive vice president & general manager] Eric [DeCosta] and 'Harbs' [head coach John Harbaugh], but he is a good football player. He has a nose for the ball, he has good instincts, and he's an excellent blitzer. We've got to tighten up some things in coverage with him, which he's starting to do, but he's going to be a fun one to watch in the preseason."
Second day in the padded practice. What have you seen from CB Tavon Young, so far? "I think he's still coming back. [We're] playing him in spurts, and [he] just continues to grow with the reps. But as far as coming back from the knee injury, I think he's right on schedule, as well. I think the preseason games will help him get back into game shape – that way – of playing and everything else. I haven't seen him take a step backwards."
How excited are you that you guys were able to bring in OLB Justin Houston, and how do you see him fitting into everything you like to do with your pass rush? (Luke Jones) "What is it – 97.5 sacks? I think we can fit those in. (laughter) We're excited about it. In today's world, it's tough, because he's not going to be here – I don't believe – until Friday. Don't quote me on that. I don't know for sure, but I think it's going to be Friday. But we can't wait to get him here and get him rolling. I think that it's going to help us in a whole bunch of different ways. It makes us more flexible."
On the other end of the spectrum, OLB Odafe Oweh does not have an NFL sack yet, but he continues to flash out here in practice. I assume you're impressed with what you've seen so far. (Ken Weinman) "Oh, yes. I've said it before, with other people sitting here, this kid, he's going to be a good one. Don't worry about it; we're going to find ways to get him on the quarterback, because he's going to get there, and he's going to get there really fast. So, I have great hopes for him. I think that he's going to be a great football player for us, and I don't just throw around the word great. I think he's going to be a problem."
How much are you looking forward to being able to mix and match with CB Jimmy Smith? (Luke Jones) "Yes, he is a chess piece. The game of football, especially defensively with the way the rules change and everything else, the best way I could tell you is it's starting to become a lot like the NBA – that you're matching personnel and lineups when they come off the bench. He's a great chess piece to have, because we can play him in other spots, just besides corner and safety. I think you're seeing Brandon Stephens move that way, as well, with all the different positions that he's played in college and what he's done here so far. We started him out at corner, we've got him at safety, and I think once he gets the system down – which is going to be a while – you're going to see the same thing with him, too."
Just going back to OLB Justin Houston for a second, what makes him so good at getting to the quarterback? (Jamison Hensley) "Some people have a knack of rushing the quarterback, and he's one of them. His moves, how he studies the game, he knows the tackles that he's going against and what their weaknesses are, so you just can't pinpoint one thing. His power, his speed to power is probably his best move. Long arm, if you will; I don't want to talk technical, but that's another thing that he does well. And once again, he's another guy that you bring in that has flexibility, just like Jimmy Smith does. Where is he going to line up at? So, that's going to be fun as well."
How have you seen OLB Odafe Oweh respond the last couple days with the pads coming on? (Doug Kyed) "I think yesterday was good, today was better, and I just continue to see it climb. The biggest thing for a rookie is they know the defense; they get lined up; they've still got to play with good technique. And sometimes in the up-tempo type drills, we've just got to get him more disciplined with his technique, as well as all the rookies."
How are the new offensive line players – T Alejandro Villanueva and G Kevin Zeitler – helping the defense get better? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "I'm not evaluating the offensive line right now. I'm just making sure we get lined up and execute ourselves. So, I hear good things about them, but I'm not evaluating the offensive line. I've got too many others. We've got 11 on the other side of the football [that] we've got to evaluate. (Reporter: "But are they helping your defensive line get better?") "Oh, sure, sure. Yes, all of them are."
Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman
Opening statement: "Good morning. Thanks for coming out. [It was the] second day in the pads, so we're really just starting to get into it here. Every day, we're working on different things. So, you might come out one day … Today was a lot of third-down situations. Tomorrow, or the next day at practice, you'll see completely different situations happening. So, that means we're working on different things all the time. Every day, we have kind of a menu of what we're working on. Then we get a chance to look at it and say, 'Hmm, how can we improve this? Does this fit? How can we change this? How can we tweak it?' And obviously, all the while, we're evaluating and coaching our players. So, every practice and every day, [there's] a lot to learn from. The guys have a great attitude, and we're working hard. So, were excited. Any questions?"
What impact do you think this missed time will have on QB Lamar Jackson, if any impact at all? (Todd Karpovich) "I always look on the positive side of things. So, to me, this is all happening for a grandiose reason. He's going to come back, and we'll get him into shape and take it one day at a time. We still have plenty of time. The first game is not until September something. Yes, we have some time, and I think we have enough time. The big thing is to get him healthy, get him right and make sure he's in a good place."
With that, as you mentioned, you guys are installing new things in every day. Do you have to rewind when QB Lamar Jackson gets here to kind of start from the beginning with him? Or does he jump in right where the rest of the offense is? (Ryan Mink) "Everybody is working hard to get things set in place. When he gets here, we'll do a little bit of both. I mean, the train has already left the station. He's in his cabin car right now, but once he gets out of there, the train is down the road. It's going to be a little bit of a game of, 'We're staying on schedule, but these are certain things we need to hit. Especially with these two players, for example. We need to make sure we get these two guys on the same page. Oh, we have to get this guy on the same page with him on this.' So, we'll get that done. [It's] very realistic."
Do you foresee when he comes back, which is supposed be towards the end of this week, that some of his snaps might be a little more limited than what it would be if he was here [for the start of training camp]? (Jamison Hensley) "That's really hard to predict right now. Yes, we're going to have to kind of play it day-to-day."
What have you seen from T Alejandro Villanueva, not just his presence being another veteran guy for the offensive line, but transitioning from the left side to the right side, which can be tricky for some guys? (Luke Jones) "He's making good progress. He's making good progress. He played on the left for so long, to your point, so there is a transitional time. The first couple days, the first day [he was] a little rusty, [but] the second day was much better. The third day was even better. He's doing a nice job with it. He's a tough guy and a really good football player. So, he'll figure that out with reps. It's takes reps through. That's the beauty of training camp."
It seems like WR Rashod Bateman has been kind of on and off the field. We saw him maybe sit out a little bit at the end of practice today. How is WR Rashod Bateman acclimating, in general? (Doug Kyed) "'Bate' [Rashod Bateman] is doing a good job. He's doing a really good job, and I see some real potential in terms of how we can deploy him. He's learning all three different positions, right now. There are always some bumps in the road. We always talk to our players about … We're human beings; we're going to make mistakes. The key thing is, when you make a mistake, learn from it and move on, because there's another one waiting for you. Hopefully, throughout the course of training camp, we can get guys through enough of those moments, enough learning moments [and] teachable moments, that they're ready to go. But yes, he's doing a great job, and [we're] really excited to have him. I'm not going to get too effusive with my praise just yet, but he's doing a really good job."
Watching the scrimmage, when you don't have your offensive line intact, and you don't have your starting quarterback, it would appear to be an unfair fight when the defensive coordinator Don 'Wink' Martindale brings the blitzes. What are you still able to accomplish in those circumstances when you're not at full strength? (Mark Viviano) "'Well, that's an interesting question, because, big-picture-wise, we're really competing against our former selves. We're trying to get better – how we operate, the individuals improving, technique, all the things that go into it – and as a unit. So, we're really not keeping score in our minds. It's more about we have to expose ourselves to these things that we're going to need to do and get good at, and then work our way through them. So, the process is invaluable. It's just every day, one foot in front of the other, get things corrected, get things understood better, so we can execute them better.
"Would we like Lamar [Jackson] out here? Sure, but Tyler [Huntley] and Trace [McSorley] are getting great reps. They're doing some really, really good things, so it's really helping them develop, too. And I think at the end of training camp, we'll have a really clear picture of who our backup [quarterback] is."
WR James Proche II is having a pretty strong camp out there. What have you seen as the difference in him from his rookie season to this year? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, I think he's doing a really good job. He's been working hard all offseason. He got here before anybody else, I think, and he's been working, working, working. He wants the ball. He's got that attitude that he wants to make an impact, and it shows with his play. So, he's just doing a really good job – showing up every day, making plays, knowing what he's supposed to do and just performing very well. There are always things to work on, but so far, he's really made a statement."
CB Tavon Young
On how it felt to be back out on the field: "It's always good to get back on the field. Those are the things that I missed – just coming out, walking through that door, walking down this hill, touching the grass. I just missed my guys. That's really what … You just miss your teammates; you just miss doing what you love. It's always a blessing."
On his mental toughness while he battled through injuries: "It's tough at times, but [you] just have to have faith [and] stay in the Bible. We have good people to talk to around here – [team chaplain] Johnny [Shelton], teammates, coaches, everybody. So, we're all like one family. They keep you on, they keep your head on straight – my family back home. Just got to know who I am as a person. I know I'm tough, I know I can come back, I know I could be who I am."
On how far along he is from getting back to being 100%: "I'm fully healthy, for sure. I'm just working back slow, doing more and more reps every day. By Friday, I'm probably going to try to do the whole practice."
On his impressions of the secondary: "It's a bunch of great guys back there. You know Marlon [Humphrey], [Marcus Peters] 'MP,' Jimmy [Smith], Chuck [Clark], DeShon [Elliott], Khalil [Dorsey], the rookies, the young guys. Everybody can play ball, and everybody is interchangeable. We talk about being interchangeable – you can play corner, safety, nickel [corner]. So, that's always good to have."
On the balance between guarding his injury and going out and playing free: "When I'm out there, I'm not really … I wouldn't say I'm guarding it; I'm just playing ball. When I'm out there playing in the field, I don't worry about nothing that's going on down there. I'm just playing ball, going full speed as fast as I can."
On if he has to play with a free mindset coming off his injury: "Yes, you can't play scared coming back from an injury. You can't play timid. You just got to go."
On any concerns from a medical standpoint that he injured the same knee twice: "Oh no, I'm back. I still feel fast. I'm running with everybody. I don't feel behind. I'm just doing what I do. I feel good."