Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
Jerry, what did you think about the way some of the guys played on special teams in last week's game against San Francisco? (Aaron Wilson)"In the first game, I thought it was a productive day. We had an opportunity to cover some kicks, which was really good, because it's hard to replicate that in practice. We had some live kicks, and what showed up is we have some guys that are experienced and know how to handle schemes, and some other guys that really needed to get that look. And then we came back and had the same team out here in practice against some of the same concepts, and it was really a good progression for teaching, because we could watch the game, make the corrections and then go out and practice it again against somebody else. It was a unique opportunity."
Jerry, you used CB/RS Asa Jackson in return roles Thursday night. Is that a case of having someone else get reps in knowing WR/RS Jacoby Jones is your guy? (Glenn Clark)"These are valuable reps in preseason games, and we're going to put guys out there that we think have an opportunity to win a job. As I mentioned earlier in training to [the media], Asa [Jackson] is a guy we need to find out about. We're going to give him opportunities all through this preseason to see what he can do. Jacoby is going to have opportunities to see if he can still do what he has done. He doesn't need to prove that he can do it, because we know he can do it. But we want to make sure he can still do it. He's not going to have nearly as many opportunities as is young players such as Asa."
Jerry, how about WR Michael Campanaro? Did he make OK decisions returning as far as what he was doing? (Aaron Wilson)"Yes, he did. He had a couple pooch situations. The second one was better than the first one – he went after the guy and blocked him; the first one was just OK. It all comes with experience. Again, the beauty of it is you show it on the tape, and you come back out and practice it, and we had an opportunity to practice that drill during the course of the week. I'm sure he's learned a lot and he's going to get better every time he goes out there."
Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak
Gary, earlier this camp you talked about the competition at wide receiver and how competitive it's been. Is it as competitive as ever now that these preseason games are deciding the final one or two spots? (Jeff Zrebiec)"It's extremely competitive; all of our guys are playing well. Steve [Smith, Sr.] and Torrey [Smith] are having a really good camp. Marlon [Brown] has really come on as a player. Kamar [Aiken], Jacoby [Jones] … Kamar and 'D.T.' [Deonte Thompson] have had an excellent competition going on. And then you have the young players with 'Camp' [Michael Campanaro] and 'J.B.' [Jeremy Butler] and Jace [Davis]. It's very close, and the thing that usually separates that is special teams at some points. We'll have to see how that goes, but I have to give them every opportunity that I can throughout the course of [the] preseason."
Gary, TE Owen Daniels didn't practice today. Is there anything up with him, or was it just a day off? (Aaron Wilson)"No, he's fine. He did do the AACT, and we kind of give him and Dennis [Pitta] a break back and forth. We decided to give him the day since Dennis had the other one."
Gary, do you prefer a certain style of running back in your offense? (Mike Preston)"No. As long as they're gaining some yards, I'm OK. We preach a lot about running tracks and one-cut and getting downhill, but I can't say that … I've had all kinds [of running backs]. I've been through [Clinton] Portis, who was more of a small, speed guy. I've been through the big back, like a Mike Anderson-type of guy. We have a little bit of both on our team right now with Bernard [Pierce] and Lorenzo [Taliaferro] – big guys – and then the other guys that are working, of course Ray [Rice]. They all fit with what we're doing, and maybe sometimes one guy is a better wide-zone runner than a tight-zone runner. That's for us to figure out."
Have you had to change RB Ray Rice's style a little bit? (Mike Preston)"No, not at all. Ray understands his reads [and] he understands how to key the zone outside and inside. He's a three-down player [who is] really good in pass protection. Ray has had a really good camp. [We] just have to keep him going. Obviously, we'll miss a couple weeks with him, so that's a dynamic we have to work through, but I've been excited about Ray."
Is RB Lorenzo Taliaferro a kind of guy you can get in the game and see him making a difference? (Garrett Downing)"That's a great point. [In] practice, he's done some good stuff, but he has found another gear. We walked in the stadium a few weeks ago for practice [and] he played at a different level, at Navy he did, and the other night against San Francisco. He just has this look in his eyes of confidence for a very young player. Our whole team sees it. He's pushing guys and we're gaining confidence in him, and he's doing a good job in pass protection. We'll see. It'll sort itself out here over these next few weeks."
With QB Keith Wenning, what's kind of stood out over the past week with his progress? (Jamison Hensley)"He can make every throw. He has a really good arm. Keith has lost about 10 pounds, and that was important. He needed to slim down a little bit, [and] he's answered the call on that. Huddle-wise, the verbiage in the huddle was very difficult for Keith coming from where he came from [Ball State]. He's catching up on that part. Hopefully, we can get him some more time here this week and throughout the course of the preseason. But he's been what we've thought he was. We just have to keep working him, but obviously try to get Joe [Flacco] and Tyrod [Taylor] all the reps they can get."
Is that a mobility thing with QB Keith Wenning's weight loss? (Clifton Brown)"We just thought he was big and thick in his hips and stuff. We thought he could move around a little better. He went from around 225 [pounds] or 222 to like 212, 213, and I just see a difference. He's bouncing around a little better. That's what he does."
Gary, at what point will you start to simulate RB Ray Rice's absence in practice where RB Bernard Pierce has to start the game? (Jeff Zrebiec)"That's coach's [John Harbaugh] call. John has talked about that, but we're still early in camp [and we'll] keep going, but I'm sure it's something John will address as we get to next week. Obviously, there comes a point where somebody else is probably going to have to work as a starter as we move forward. But you still have to get Ray ready to play, because come Week 3, he's going to bounce right back in there. It's a tough dynamic, and coach will work us through it. He'll tell us what he wants us to do."
Does WR Michael Campanaro maybe give you a little different of a look than some of the other guys? (Jamison Hensley)"Yes, if you're asking [as a] slot player and that type of thing – he's suited for that. Playing inside he's really smart, but Michael can really run, so it's not like he can't go outside and still do the things we want to do. He's made some big strides the last few weeks in camp. He understands what we're doing now. He's gotten over the injury bug, so to speak. He's making a big push, obviously, doing some things for [special teams coordinator/associate head coach] Jerry [Rosburg]. Trying to make that call there with the back-end receivers – the back two or back three – however it pans out, it's going to be a tough call. That's a good thing."
Who's going to be your Andre Johnson-type of receiver in this offense? (Mike Preston)"We're going to be more balanced just naturally because [we have] Steve [Smith, Sr.] on one side and Torrey [Smith] on the other. The way I was geared [in Houston], a lot of things were geared right toward Andre for those specific reasons. But I really like the fact that we can balance the field with our two [receivers]. I don't know how it's going to end up, [but] hopefully somebody is making a lot of plays. They can both do it."
Gary, since arriving in Baltimore, do you feel like there's a generalized sense of wanting to turn the page? (Childs Walker)"I felt that. You're talking about the offensive side of the ball? Yes, I felt that since the day I got here. John [Harbaugh] said, 'Hey, get in there and start from scratch. Let's do what we do.' John and I talked about what he wanted to be on the offensive side of the ball, but we haven't spent any time talking about what happened last year. It's a new season. Everybody has bought into what we're doing. We're working hard [and] we have to go take another step this week."
What are some factors in keeping a third quarterback if QB Keith Wenning ends up staying on the team? (Brent Harris)"It always boils down to who is that other 46th player, you know? That's coach's [John Harbaugh] call right there. It's Keith's job to go out there and prove that he belongs. He still has a ways to go, and John will make that decision, but Keith … It's up to the player to put the pressure on the coach and show he belongs there and is doing his job. Hopefully we can get a good look at Keith here over the next few weeks."
Why the switch to black jerseys for the quarterbacks today? (Garrett Downing) "I didn't even realize it until you … Another day at camp!" (laughter)
WR/RS Jacoby Jones has been used over the top in the past, but what do you think makes him suited to play underneath? (Jon Meoli)"I think he can do both. I play guys everywhere [because] I want them to know all the spots, and Jacoby has a great grasp on what we're doing. He's a good football player. We have to get them all in position to make plays, but they'll all be interchangeable playing everywhere."
Can you talk about C Jeremy Zuttah and the importance of having a veteran that thoroughly understands the offense at that position? (Brent Harris)"Jeremy [Zuttah] has done a really good job, and Gino [Gradkowski] has had a good camp, too. We're a very good football team at guard – we know that – but we have two big, very good guards. It was important that we brought somebody in there to battle with Gino, and somebody who has some snaps under their belt, so Jeremy fit. [He has been] a great acquisition to our team, and hopefully we keep them all healthy and keep going. I've been very pleased with him."
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
LB C.J. Mosley had a very good first preseason game. Do you expect him to continue to play at this level? (youth reporter Cavin Obrien) "Good question, Cavin. I do expect him to play at this level, and even keep getting better. I think he came in and adjusted very well to everything we do. [He] came from a good program, has practiced really hard in the offseason, learned our system, and I really expect him to keep getting better as the preseason goes on and as the season goes on. I think that guy has a great career ahead of him."
You've sustained some losses with season-ending injuries. How does that affect things and how concerned are you about the depth? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Well, it's really tough when you lose two guys at [the] same position – basically two young guys that we thought had a lot of promise. Hopefully we'll rehab them and get them back for the future. But certainly, what you're looking at is a spot that was at one time one of the deepest spots that we thought we had on the chart, and now [it] becomes a little less. And so what we have to do is move some guys around, experiment with some guys, and see what we can do and go from there. We have to take the guys that we have. And like I said, there are a couple guys like DeAngelo [Tyson] and there are a couple young guys that we'll look at out there. We'll try not to move some of the inside guys that we like inside even though they may learn a lot there. [We will] try to move as few as we can, but at the same time, we can't sit here and say everything is going to be OK. We're going to have to experiment with some guys."
Do you like OLB Pernell McPhee at outside linebacker, or could you move him? (Garrett Downing)"He can play some [defensive] end; he has played [defensive] end. I really like him as outside 'backer. I like him as an inside pass rusher. A lot of it would depend on the type of game we are going to face, [such as a] gap scheme team [for which] you need a big five technique that can hold a point on a double team. There would be a lot of things that would depend on that. Last year the other thing is we faced … 60 percent of the time we were in sub-defense anyhow … I don't know [if] it'll end up being the same, so it really would be a game-plan-type thing, and whether or not we would ever … We would look at him in there, but whether we play him a lot in there really depends on [the] type of team we were playing. [You] try not to put him in a spot where … Give a guy a fighting chance."
What's your impression of DT Timmy Jernigan so far? (Aaron Wilson) "Quick, explosive, everything that we saw on film – good draft pick. [I] really like him. I think he is practicing really hard, just like all those young rookies are. But I really feel like he's another guy that … We have … Losing those two guys [DE Kapron Lewis-Moore and DE Brent Urban], putting them back in the mix, that was a great, young group of players, and Timmy is still out there. I'm really pleased with where he is coming and learning every day a little bit more about the system, because it's a lot different than what he did at Florida State. But [he is] very active. And talking to the San Francisco coaches, they commented on a couple of our guys up there, young guys, and he was one of them. It's always good when you get somebody on the opposing team [to] tell you that they think [a] guy is a pretty good player."
*What do you see from C Tramain Jacobs *(Ryan Mink) "A really good, young talent who just needs to see it live more and more. I think the upside on this guy is great. Is he there yet? No. He has a ways to go. But usually you can tell whether a guy has a ways to go and can get there or [if] a guy has got a ways to go. And there's always going to be a ways to go. He has got a ways to go, but he's going to get there. This guy is a good, young football player. Practicing against Joe [Flacco] out there, all of a sudden [the] ball is there a little faster than what he thought, and the receivers are a little faster than what he thought; guys are coming out of brakes quicker. But I really do see a lot of very promising … I think this guy is going to be a really good player down the road."
Dean, we didn't get a chance to speak to you after the 49ers game. What did you like and not like? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Well, first thing I didn't like was the opening drive. We have to start faster now. The good thing about the opening drive was we stopped them on a field goal, and held them to a field goal, but that's our first unit out there. We did some very … I think we were a little hyped up, because there were a couple times where we ran up field on a running play and the ball gashed us, and we did some things that we cannot do. And the good thing is when things like that happen, it happened in a game that doesn't harm you. And the good thing is that we got them stopped. So, there is a negative in there and there was a positive in there. But we have to play better with the first unit; it's basically against the run."
Dean, sometimes OLB Terrell Suggs gets caught out of position. Is that by design, or is he trying to make the play? (Mike Preston)"Most of the time, we have a couple calls where we try to get him inside and such, so I can't tell you any one specific [thing]. It could be a little bit of both, but we do have some calls where we want to take him inside. We have that with every defensive lineman. The one thing I learned a long time ago coaching inside 'backers – and especially with [defensive] line – if you line up the same way all the time, a guy is going to tee off on you. You need to be able to change it up, so the guy can't just sit there and know you're going to be stationary all the time. We're trying to do, maybe, a little bit more movement up front, too, in some ways, and a little bit of that is 'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs]. And then there is sometimes, 'I saw something.' And the one thing … I think I told you guys this story a long time ago that when I coached Junior Seau, he was always seeing something. He is the first inside 'backer I ever saw chase a reverse, and it wasn't a reverse. And [he] would come off, and [say], 'I saw something.' Well, obviously you saw the wrong thing. (laughter) And then he also was the guy that … He comes in there and he starts yelling to the whole defense, 'Disco!' And guys are looking around, they come up to me [and say], 'Coach, when did you put in disco?' I said, 'What are you talking about?' And he goes, 'Disco! Disregard anything I say.' 'Well how do we know what 'disco' means?' 'Well I used it in San Diego.' 'Well none of us have been to San Diego.' So, sometimes though – long story short – I think you have to let players go. Lawrence Taylor went a lot. Pepper Johnson used to tell me Lawrence would [say], 'Just have my back.' And the guy is a Pro Bowler, one of the greatest that ever played, so is Suggs. And I think once in a while you also have to let them be a football player. Now they can't do it all the time, but sometimes I think you also have to have a little allowance. I always tell the rookies, I say, 'Look, I'm always going to be fair, not equal.' So, that's kind of the way we look at it."
Dean, with the disappointment at the end of last season, is that something you hold on to that as motivation, or do you put it behind you? (Childs Walker) "It's a new season, it's a new season. Just like you have to put the Super Bowl behind you … Everybody talks about that, right? You have to move on, you can't live on your laurels. Well, you can't live on your disappointments. It's a new season – start over, climb the mountain again."
Some of the veterans are putting emphasis on situation drills given some of the trouble you guys had getting off the field on third down. Are you seeing them put more emphasis on that? (Jon Meoli) "Off the field on third down, I think we were third in the league. I don't remember us being [bad in that area]. No, I think they said two-minute. We were third in the league on third down. I'd say that's not too bad myself."
Situationally, are you putting a little more emphasis on [improving the two-minute defense]? (Jon Meoli) "Well, we didn't get off the field on certain situations in two-minute. We want the game to end with our offense having the ball, whether it's four minutes and taking a knee or going down and scoring. That's kind of the emphasis we've had in two minutes."* *
Dean, you've had some injuries in the secondary, and it seems like S Terrence Brooks has moved around a little bit. Is he someone that can be an option at nickel corner? (Glenn Clark)"It's an option. Everybody is an option right now. We're just trying to find guys. We're moving guys around a little bit. We have two more games, really, to experiment with where we want to put guys and see where they fit getting ready for the season. The first two games are [about] playing everybody [to] see what we have, and then after that, we have to start honing in. But we'll move a bunch of guys around. Terrence is playing well; he's playing hard. He's a multi-position guy like all of our guys really are. It's a possibility."
S Matt Elam
On how things have been going and if he feels more comfortable at strong safety:"Yes, I feel more comfortable down in the box, closest to the ball. Just covering tight ends and being in the box like a linebacker, it's more comfortable being in the run game and stuff like that. I'm very comfortable when I'm down there doing those things."
On if getting more interceptions is a big goal of his:"Creating turnovers for the most part – it's very important this year for us. Getting the ball off people, picking the ball off or forcing fumbles … We just need more turnovers so we can win more ball games and get the ball in the offense's hands more."
On his communication with S Darian Stewart:"I feel like our communication is excellent. We're great friends off the field and we communicate on the field well, and it shows right on the field as we're practicing. I feel like we've come a long way since we first started, and I feel like we're getting better every day with communication. Things are excellent."
On if he feels he can take on more of a leadership role in the secondary this year being in his second season, even though Stewart is more of a veteran player:"Yes, I feel like the leadership role is in my hands and I feel like I know a lot more of this defense than him. He knows a lot of things, too, because he's been in the league and he reps. So, we're learning from each other. But as far as the defense goes, like I said, I'm teaching him new things and he's teaching me new things, so I feel like we're learning from each other every day and we're learning new things, and that's what's making us so great together playing."
On if he feels confident in his ability to make plays going into Year Two:"I feel very confident. I come out here practicing against the best receivers in the game, just making plays against good tight ends and good receivers out here and giving me a lot of confidence. That's a big focal point this year – getting the ball off people so the offense can have the ball in their hands more and create scoring drives and things like that. So, I feel like that's a big focal point this year – getting the ball off people."
On being a tough self-critic, and if he feels any better about his rookie season looking back now:"No, I feel like I had a terrible rookie season. That's why I'm coming in this year and preparing the way I am, and I'm looking forward to doing big things this year, because I'm preparing myself every day in practice. [I'm] getting my guys better around me, and I feel the sky is the limit."
On if he sees inexperience in the secondary when he looks around the team:"They can say inexperience, but I feel like we're pushing each other and we're making each other better every day. So, I feel like experience won't really matter when game time comes, because the way we work in practice and the competition we're going against with our offense – and the receivers and the tight ends and the quarterbacks and the running backs we're going against – I feel like they give us a great preparation for going in and playing on Sundays."
On what makes him feel more confident overall:"Just knowing what you're doing and knowing the game and learning the game. Just coming out here and working your craft every day and feeling confident – that's what gives you confidence. Working your craft and knowing what you're doing and being able to play fast. If you can play fast, you'll be very confident."
On if there could be friendly competition between he and Stewart on who makes the biggest hits this year:"Oh yes, of course. I let him know all the time I'm going to get the biggest hits and things like that. It's always competition in the back end. We push each other – that's another way of pushing each other – and we're going to go out and play hard just to do those things."