Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "Alright, [it's] good to see everybody. I appreciate everybody being here. [It's a] nice, hot day in training camp. The guys worked hard. It was the second padded day in a row. I thought they fought through it really well. We're in training camp. We're in the middle of it right now. We're dealing with different things that you deal with in training camp in terms of trying to build our team, in terms of execution, fundamentals. I want to be efficient in everything we do at practice, and I know our guys are doing a great job of that. So, that's where we're at, and we'll keep moving forward. What questions do you have?"
Do you have any injury update on WR Rashod Bateman? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, he has a soft tissue leg issue that's going to be weeks. It'll be a number of weeks. So, I don't know how many. It's not going to be months, but it will be weeks. We'll see where we're at."
CB Chris Westry has sort of flashed the last two weeks over camp. Is he a guy that has caught your attention? (Todd Karpovich) "He has. He's done a really good job. He's a guy [that] I think as he pays more and more attention to the detail of his technique, and he repeats good technique rep after rep, he starts making plays. It's definitely shown up in camp."
With so many of your receivers sidelined right now, which of the other guys do you see making the most of the opportunity? (Gerry Sandusky) "I can't think of all those names right now. I think all those guys are doing a great job. And that's up to them, really, who makes the most of the opportunities. After a practice, I'll go back and watch the tape with the rest of the coaches and the players, and we'll see how it looks. I thought those guys stepped up today big time. Like you said, we're low on numbers, and those guys stepped in, ran the practice, made the plays. The offense had a nice day today, as you saw, and those guys were a big part of that."
You said way back that left guard would be a great battle to watch during training camp. You've tried a lot of guys in there. I know you won't tell us when you make a decision, but will that decision on who you'll will be the start go all the way up to Week 1? Or will you start to finalize that in weeks to come? (Bo Smolka) "It depends. We'd like to finalize it sooner than that, but you just never know. Those decisions end up making themselves; you just have to pay attention and make sure you understand what you're looking at. That's what we'll try to do. It's going to be practice, it's going to be games, [and] it's going to be health – all those things are going to be a part of it."
How necessary is it for the five offensive lineman that will play together to get out there together and start repetitions? (Aditi Kinkhabwala) "It's preferred – there's no doubt about that. We have our afternoon practices, which we call ACT practices – assignment, communication, technique – and those are where we've had the offensive line together. So, at least we get that. You just do what you do. It's training camp, and you don't always have all your guys out there."
You haven't had many [hot] days like this. [Do you] have to try to get the players to push through these things where they'll face days where it's hot, and they might not want to focus or have trouble focusing? (Jamison Hensley) "No doubt. I think the benefit is, and our guys understand this, and it's something that we obviously talk about. Even though players talk about it, like Marlon [Humphrey] did today after practice, that that's when you basically refine yourself. You have to be in the fire, to use the analogy. It's a great biblical analogy, but it's real – there's a little fire out here. When you get tired [and] fatigue sets in … [Winston] Churchill said, 'Fatigue makes cowards of us all,' right? The ability to fight through that and still have good technique and know what you're doing … We tell them all the time, 'You're tired, but so is he.' So, it's who handles it the best in that situation is the one that ultimately wins. So, that's what we try to work on."
I missed part of this earlier. WR Rashod Bateman, you're still hopeful maybe for Week 1? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Come on. You know I'm not going to answer any of those questions right now. Yes, I'm still hopeful, but … I'm giving you all I'm going to give you. We're getting close to the season now, so the follow-up injury questions are not going to be met with answers. I'll probably be nice about it, but then again, I might not. It depends on how practice went, actually. It's always based on how practice goes." (laughter)
WR Sammy Watkins, for everything he's given you on the field, what about working with the younger wide receivers? Has he revealed anything interesting about himself in that? (Aditi Kinkhabwala) "He's done a great job with those guys. He's a guy that's had adversity, too. So, when he's gone through adversity, he can share his stories [and] his testimonies with those guys. They're all ears. Young guys love hearing what those guys had to go through to get where they are."
WR James Proche II has been a guy who has been regularly out at practice at the wide receiver position. What have you seen from him as far as the progress from Year One to now? (Cliff Brown) "I'll tell you; the first part you're talking about is not to be overlooked. Those guys that are out there every day that prove that they're durable, and they have the ability to be on the field, that counts for a lot. He's out here making plays every day. He has plenty of things to work on in terms of our offense and what he needs to do, but I'm nothing but pleased with James Proche [II]."
Tight Ends Coach Bobby Engram
With TE Mark Andrews – we see him out there, we see what he can do – as someone who coaches him every day, what stands out to you about him? (Jamison Hensley) "The thing that stands out, from a physical standpoint, is he plays fast. He works hard every day to get better at his craft, and he wants to be one of the best ones in the game. But he also attacks the playbook, and he's really worked hard on being a better blocker. So, he just wants to be a complete player, and he goes about his business every day like that."
I know he's still working his way back to full strength, but how influential is TE Nick Boyle – especially with some of the young guys – in your group developing? (Luke Jones) "Yes, Nick [Boyle] is a tremendous leader. And he's handling his rehab process, and he's attacking that, but he's also in the classroom every day, and he gives valuable insight. He's been there, he's done that, and I love having him in the room. He gives those young guys a lot of sound wisdom and just technical things that they can work on, on the field, when we're watching the film."
What about TE Josh Oliver? A lot of people are intrigued by him. What do you see? (Kirk McEwen) "I think Josh [Oliver] is an intriguing guy – height, weight, speed guy [with] good hands. And he's a guy who's developing. He's working. He's been through some things while he's been in this league, so I think experience will help him out. But he's a guy that's an extremely hard worker, he fits into the room, and he's a guy that has a desire to be a really good football player. So, we're excited to have him, and we just want to keep growing him and keep bringing him along as a player."
The Ravens' offense is pretty heavily set on the run game, but also on their tight end units. How difficult of a scheme is this to have the younger guys come in and try to learn, compared to other systems you've seen? (Kyle Barber) "I think it's a challenge, because we ask the tight ends to do a lot. We love to run the football, and the thing that challenges us is that we have to be great run blockers, great pass protectors, and also, you've got to be able to make some plays in the passing game. And everybody kind of has their role, but we're asking all those guys to do some version of that in the offense. And then what we put on them mentally is a challenge, because we use multiple formations and motions and shifts. But those guys are pros. They work hard at it, and I kind of take that personal, and we're in this together. It's my job to get them ready."
I know a lot goes into your decisions, but how glad are you to have some preseason games this year, when you have so many guys competing at that third tight end spot. To get to see them in game action, how important is that? (Cliff Brown) "Yes, I think the intersquad practices versus Carolina [next week], the preseason games, in particular for young guys, it's important, because it does help separate the competition. And I understand from a former player's standpoint, the veteran guys don't need it as much, but it will be good just to get back to some normalcy. And having the guys out there on the field, and to see them go out and operate – the young guys – in a real game setting, will help them and help us make the evaluations."
Has there ever been a point with a guy like TE Mark Andrews where you ask him to maybe take it slower or take a few plays off? It seems like he's out there taking every single rep. (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, well, we're managing his reps, and we're watching him, as a coach. So, there's a fine line there, but he wants to work. He wants to work on his craft and get better. But obviously, players that are proven, you give them a day off, you take care of them, as far as reps. But right now, he's trying to really get himself ready for the season, and that's what we work for. We're not just out there practicing. Everything we do is for preparation to help this team win games, and he's focused on that."
For someone like FB/TE Ben Mason, coming from a kind of pro-style offense at Michigan to what you guys do here in Baltimore, has that been something for him to wrestle with – just the intellectual part of adjusting to the NFL? (Jonas Shaffer) "No, intellectually, he's a very smart football player. I think there is a learning curve with the physicality, with how we want the techniques done and with some of the guys that he's going against. These are pros that have been in the league for a long time. So, there's a learning curve, but I think he's handling it well. He's a worker, and I've seen progression, especially when you get the pads on. He's a guy that, part of his game is physicality, so he's not going to look the same way running around in his shorts as he will in shoulder pads. So, I'm happy we got him, I'm excited about how he's progressing, and the trick is just to keep growing and keep getting better as we approach the season."
DB/LB Anthony Levine Sr.
On if it feels good to have a vet day on a hot day: "Today was one of those days that was well-earned. You put the years in, [and] you put the work in, so Coach [Harbaugh] gave me one of the earned days. Today was an earned day, but the guys are still out there getting it in. To answer the question, yes. Yes." (laughter)
On why he kept the nickname 'Co-Cap' after OLB Albert McClellan left: "Coach 'Harbs' said something to me, I want to say last year. [He said,] 'I think it's time to drop the "Co"' … No, it's just … Actually, that name was given to me by Albert McClellan. 'Co-Cap' was given to me by Albert McClellan. It's just a staple. 'Co-Cap' is not just a name; it's something that I live on. My teammates respect it. When they see me not get ready for practice, they're always shocked. 'You're not going out today?' Because they're always used to me going out there, getting in and working hard. … No, I'll always and forever be 'Co-Cap.'"
On when his role changed into being a mentor: "I don't know when it changed, it just kind of happened. I can't tell you exactly when. I've always been a guy trying to bring other guys along just doing the things that I've done and seeing other guys do it. Watching the other guys do it when I was younger and watching the Corey Graham's, the Terrell Suggs', watching Sam Koch, watching Jimmy [Smith] … Just coming in and seeing guys that were Ravens teaching other guys how to be a Raven, it just kind of happened. So, I don't know when it really happened; it just happened."
On what Year 10 with the Ravens means to him: "Man, I'm blessed. I'm honored. Coach 'Harbs' [Harbaugh] believed in me. [Executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] believed in me. [Executive vice president and general manager] Eric DeCosta believes in me. It's just for me to be here for 10 years, everybody just … I have great people around me – people that believe in me. That's what it's about here. [Former special teams coordinator] Jerry Rosburg – man, I love Jerry. But it's just an honor. It's an honor to call yourself a Raven. To be here this long, it says a lot about myself, it says a lot about the coaching staff and how they believe in me and my teammates. So, it's an honor to still be going."
On what advice he has for players who want to get back on the field but need to be mindful of their health: "Man, you always have to … You always have to push it to the limit, man. I tell these guys every day … They're tired. I know the aches and the pains they're going through, but at the end of the day, when that regular season game comes around, September 13, it'll be all worth it. I know there are going to be those long days. Your body is going to ache, but at the end of the day, you have to push through it. That's what makes you a Raven. That's how you overcome that. When you have days like today, everybody is hurting. But that's when, as a younger guy, you have to take the next step forward. How are you going to do it? You don't know how you're going to do it. You just have to find it, and you just have to go get it. Once you do that, that's how you take that next step, and that's how you keep going."
On if players getting injured during training camp is just part of the business: "That's part of the game, and that's what happens. You don't ever want to see anybody go down with injuries or anything like that. But when I first came into the league, I had a coach that told me a lot of positions are lost and won by injuries. Chuck Clark came in and is a hell of a player, but he came in because of an injury. When injury happens, and the next guy is up, that's when you have to seize your opportunity. Nobody wants to see anyone go down. We all are brothers at the end of the day, but it's also our job. You have to be able to overcome that."
On how tough it was to miss a game last season: "It was tough. I actually got really emotional about it, because that's what made me who I am. To always come out here, always being available, always being there for my teammates and always being there for the team, to not be able to go out there … I remember when I walked in that morning and [pass game coordinator/secondary] Chris Hewitt, he asked me, 'Are you going to go? How are you feeling?' I was like, 'Coach, I can't go.' He looked at me and was like, 'You must be really hurt. You must be … It's a problem.' I was like, 'Yes, sir.' I didn't have a lot of injuries, but I always played through it. I prided myself on that – to always be available. To not go out there, man, it was just like, 'Damn. I'm not out there with my teammates. I can't do anything.' It was … That hurt pretty bad."
On how many questions he was asked today: "Guess what, I appreciate you all. (laughter) It was … [WJZ-TV reporter] Mark [Viviano], my guy. Me and Mark, we [did our TV show together], Mark has a great TV show going. Listen, every time I come up to the podium, it's like, 'Levine, we want you on the podium.' 'You want me on the podium?' It's good to be at the podium, man. It's always good to be wanted. I appreciate you all."
CB Anthony Averett
On if his red hair is to represent his alma mater, Alabama: "Really, I don't know. I'm pretty much going through phases right now. I'll probably go end up changing it probably right just before the season – the regular season – or halfway through."
On what color he might change his hair to: "I don't know. I'm thinking purple, though, because of the Ravens."
On how eager he is to build on last year and prove to be a starting-caliber player: "Yes, I'm definitely confident just coming off that season last year. And this year, I'm balling in camp, and it just comes with the confidence. I mean, I [was] balling last year. I know the system. This is my fourth year I've been here, so I'm just comfortable."
On if this is the best camp he's had as a Raven: "Yes. And also my body – this is the best I've felt since I've been here, too. So, I'm definitely taking care of my diet [and] everything that I'm doing off the field, as well. So, yes, I'm pretty confident about this year."
On his focus during the offseason: "Just to work on my strength. Obviously, the conditioning, as well, and just pretty much my diet, as well. That's the main thing – my diet."
On the changes to his diet: "Everything. [I'm] just eating a lot more healthy – for sure. A lot more healthy."
On how CB Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey have influenced him as a player: "Oh, a lot. I mean, I watch. Just being around them … The film room – I'm sitting there, [and] if I don't ask them questions, I'm just sitting back, watching like, 'How did MP [Marcus Peters] know that route was coming?' I just pretty much work with that."
On why he changed his diet, and if it was to change his body: "No, just energy – more energy. Just coming out here and practicing in this heat, you've just got to eat well. [Try] different diets, eat different, even hydrate – everything."
On how the defensive backs have helped the receiving corps: "They're definitely going against the best, so I know they're improving – just going against us every day. In the preseason, they should do well. So, hopefully they do well in the game."
On if he's comfortable mentoring the young players on the roster: "Yes, actually, a lot of them come to me. I'm a quiet guy, but they definitely come to me and ask me questions, especially about the playbook and the plays. I mean, I've been here; I should know what I'm doing out there. So, just [for] things like that, they come to me."
On having a short memory after giving up a play: "That's just being a 'dawg.' I play corner; guys are going to catch the ball. But most of the time, I'm trying to make that play. Obviously, short memory. That's everybody in the secondary – safeties, as well."
On the importance of availability during training camp: "For me, definitely … Just like you said, in camp, we come in with 90 guys; roster cuts come. I mean, I don't know what decisions or whatever [the personnel department and coaching staff] make, but I'm pretty sure I've just got to just focus on myself and the team – helping the team get better. So, that's pretty much it with that."
On being patient for his opportunities: "Well, actually, I did pretty much the same thing at Alabama. I mean, I sat for plenty of years, then I got my chance, got my opportunity, and I never left the field after that. So, that's my mission, that's my goal. [There's] nothing wrong with sitting back and just actually learning, and that's what I pretty much did, and now you see the outcome."
On if it can be frustrating to have to sit and wait for an opportunity, just as a competitor: "Oh yes, most definitely. Definitely, I want to be out there, and I definitely want to play, but I know the circumstances. I know this is the NFL, and I can't just select, and I love to be here; I love the Ravens. We have a deep secondary – I know that – but whenever I get my chance, I just ball. I just do my best."