Ravens Wednesday Transcripts: Week 1 at Las Vegas

TE Mark Andrews

On what it means to sign his contract extension on his birthday: "It's about the best birthday gift you can get, man. I'm extremely excited. I just want to first off start by thanking [owner] Mr. Steve Bisciotti, [executive vice president and general manager] Eric DeCosta, [executive vice president] Ozzie Newsome for bringing me in here [and] believing in me three years ago. It's incredibly humbling to be able to be a part of this organization for another five years. I want to thank Coach [John] Harbaugh for believing in me to impact this team, to lead this team and to help this team grow. It means a lot to me, as well as [vice president of football administration] Nick [Matteo] dealing with my agent and cooperating with him. This is all surreal for me; to be able to play for the Baltimore Ravens, I can't ask for anything more. This is a place that I've said I want to make home, and it is my home. So, I want Baltimore to know, and everybody here [to] know that I'm going to give it my all. I've talked about the main goal, and that's to win a Super Bowl – that's what we're going to do."

On if it was his goal to get the deal done before the start of the season: "I would've been fine either way. That was one of those things, I just wanted my agent and the front office to do all that stuff. They did a great job of kind of handling that and making sure that I was stress free."

On if the timing of the deal came as a surprise: "Yes, I was kind of curious to when it was going to happen. I didn't know if it was going to be during the season or before. But in the last couple of weeks, things just kind of ramped up a little bit knowing that they kind of wanted to get it done before the season. So, that was awesome."

On how his family reacted to his contract extension: "It's incredible, man. You grow up as an athlete and you've been through so many different levels and your family has been there through all of it. You're just so thankful to them. It's a moment that you can kind of share, and it's hard to describe. It's incredibly humbling, but my family and I were able to celebrate, enjoy it, enjoy all the hard work that was put into that and understand that the job is not done. My road and their road in this journey is not done. We still have some ways to go, but it was a nice moment to be able to share with them. I'm excited to see them." (Reporter: "How did you share the news with them?") "I was on the phone. We were on a Zoom call, just hanging out. They were all ecstatic, man. My brothers, my sister, my mom [and] my dad, they couldn't be happier."

On why it was important for him to participate in the offseason program like normal, despite being in a contact year: "I think [that] playing for the Baltimore Ravens, they bring a certain type of guy here. I never started playing football for the money; that's not what it's been about. I love the competition of this sport. I love everything about it. So, it's more about just being able to get in here, play with the team [and] get better as a team, and that's me being here. So, I think that was super important for me, just knowing that it's not about any of the other stuff outside. It's about your love for the game, competing each and every day and getting better each and every day. I'm not where I need to be, and there's always room to grow. So, that's kind of where my mindset was at."

On if he sought counsel about his contract from anyone at "Tight End U": "I didn't seek counsel or anything like that, but there were definitely just little things here and there [with] people talking. The first day, we all had to stand up and say our signing bonuses and stuff like that, so that was good. I know Kyle Pitts probably had the biggest signing bonus." (laughter)

On what his first purchase will be after signing his contract extension: "That's a good question. I've been asked that a couple times now. I think for me, it's just [that] I want to invest and save – real estate and stuff like that. There's nothing that I really want to buy, but I want to make my money grow."

On what it would mean to be able to continue to play with QB Lamar Jackson into the future: "It's awesome. It's awesome, man. It awesome to be able to be here for another five years and to be able to get him [Lamar Jackson] signed here eventually. Again, the goal is to win the Super Bowl, and then after that, it's to win more. Obviously, he and I have a very special connection. For me to be able to play with a guy like that for years to come, as a tight end, you can't ask for anything more. I'm extremely blessed to be able to play at a place like this, with the teammates like this and a quarterback like that."

On if he feels like he has a larger leadership presence after his contract extension: "I always kind of think that of myself, trying to be one of those guys. I'm a 'Top Dog' type of person, but again, I'm a team person. I'm always going to be a team person, and I'm going to do whatever I can to help this team win. That's where my head is at – not doing too much, not doing too little. I'm just doing my job, and everyone here does that."

On where he feels the passing game is going into Week One: "It's doing really, really well. I think that you can kind of see from the preseason and things like that, even though some of the receivers were down, we had a lot of guys stepping up and making plays. Even the guys that weren't Marquise Brown or Sammy Watkins and stuff like that, those guys were completely balling out. So, I think that's a testament to how hard they're working in that room. The mindset in that room has completely kind of changed. Those guys are going out there, being 'dogs,' making plays and helping this team."

On where he's seen QB Lamar Jackson make progress this offseason: "He's always continued to get better and better each year. I think mentally, he's obviously … He understands the game so well. I think it's so slow for him, just to be able to see things and see how the coverage kind of unfolds. I think it's gotten really slow for him, just being able to see that. He's matured as a person [and] as a player, and he's continued to do that year after year. So, that's what it takes to get better and better."

On if the way QB Lamar Jackson throws the ball is different from when he was a rookie: "I've always loved Lamar's [Jackson] ball, man. He throws a great ball, man. Some of the best balls I've ever caught have been from him. He throws a real, real tight spiral [and] puts it right where it needs to be. The thing about Lamar is … A lot of people don't talk about it, but he's always protecting receivers. He doesn't throw you into a headache; he's very conscious about where he throws the ball, what angle he throws the ball and leading you into a good spot. So, if a defender is right next to me, he's not going to throw me into him. He's going to throw me away from him, just so I can shield myself. He thinks stuff like that, which a lot of quarterbacks don't do."

On if there's any concern about the run game for Week One with injuries in the running back room: "First off, I am very, very confident in our running back room [with] the guys we have and our O-line being able to block it up front. So, I'm excited for this game. Obviously, we're very locked in on the Las Vegas Raiders, and I know those guys are going to ball out, man. I'm not worried about that running back group. Obviously, we have guys around them to help – tight ends and O-line to create space and make holes."

On if he ever thinks about his time with TE Darren Waller, TE Nick Keizer and TE Maxx Williams and looks back on how much talent has been in the tight end room: "Yes, 100%, man. Like I said, they bring in a lot of special players here in Baltimore. They do a good job of recruiting guys and scouting guys, and that's a testament to them. There have been a lot of great players. But yes, definitely. You think about those guys that you've been able to play with, share memories, learn from and take things from. So, I've been incredibly blessed to be able to play here in Baltimore, and that tight end tradition here runs deep – all those guys are a part of that."

On if QB Lamar Jackson's growth adds a new wrinkle to the offense: "Yes, I think every year it's a new team [and] a new offense, so I think there are going to be things and wrinkles here, wrinkles there that are going to look different. We're going to be able to expose some things, but that's why I'm excited. I'm excited for this week coming up, because we're going to be able to go out there, perform, do our jobs and show the world what we're all about – that's the most exciting part about this thing."

On why the team has had so much success in Week One in the past: "We've had some really good success. I just think that how hard we work during training camp, OTAs and things like that, Coach [John] Harbaugh always has us prepared. He's preparing us for that first game. So, the teams that aren't ready, obviously, they weren't prepared enough. So, it's all about working hard, practicing hard, training, knowing your job, doing it and executing. So, I think we come out there ready to go [and] ready to execute. Obviously, the best team execution is going to win – that's what we do."

C/G Bradley Bozeman

On the offensive line heading into Week One: "I'm really excited about this offensive line. We've been working together, had some really good reps, some quality reps. [We'll] just continue to build with each other and gel and just continue to grow, as we have been doing. So, I'm feeling good about it. We're going to continue to work together and get better this week and see where we end up on Monday."

On C/G Bradley Bozeman's and CB Marcus Peters' backpack distribution community event: "Marcus [Peters] was doing an event, [and] we wanted to do an event also. He had the bookbags; we had the supplies, so we kind of came together. We got both all together; it worked out really well. It was a great event. We got a lot of bookbags out there. I know he did some things on the side, also, with some shoes and different things down in the city. So, it's great – just trying to come together and build a better community and just help each other out. The more people we can get involved, the better things we can do."

On his comfort level moving back to center: "I love the move. I'm really excited about it. I played there in college, basically all five years. It's just a comfortable position for me. I feel like I'm doing a decent job, at least, so I hope to continue to build on that and just go out there and get after it on Monday."

On the Raiders' defense: "They've definitely done an overhaul there. They've done a really good job of bringing in some really high-caliber defensive linemen in there. Their defense is really good, and we're going to have our hands full, for sure. But we're going to prep and prepare and be ready to play on Monday."

On if the team discusses their previous Week One success: "It's a new year – new people, new faces, new schemes, new things – so we're a different team this year. We're just going to continue to work and build in practice, get out there and try to start fast, finish strong and just continue to build on that trend."

On the offense's mentality and outlook as they enter the season with a few key injuries: "You're going to have injuries throughout the season, regardless of how good of a player he is. People are going to get hurt, people are going to go down. It's a really good opportunity for young guys to get these reps, to be able to get in, come in, gel, go in with the ones and just be able to work and just continue to grow with the offense. Instead of sitting in the backseat waiting for their turn, they're actually out there practicing, getting the timing down, getting everything down. So, it's a really good opportunity for those young guys to get some reps."

On playing with a full crowd at Allegiant Stadium: "Yes, it's going to be rocking in there. I mean, it's going to be loud; we already know that. But we're just going to continue to prepare. We've been working all week – the last two weeks on silent cadence and making sure that we're good on that. We've been pumping in crowd noise out here; it's been loud as crap out here. We've got our little speaker system going out. But we're just going to continue to prep and prepare for it."

On G/T Tyre Phillips: "Tyre [Phillips] has continued to grow. He's continued to be a competitor, to keep his name there, to be able to battle for that position. He's going to be a really good pro and just continue to grow. He's in his second year. He's made a huge jump from last year to this year, so I'm excited to see what he can do."

On if he gives tips to G/T Tyre Phillips about playing the left guard spot: "A ton, actually. He's probably tired of it by now. But yes, we sit beside each other in all our meetings, so I give him any kind of insight that I can, that I wish I would have had going into that position – whether it's staying low on certain blocks, certain hand placement, certain eye positions, just depending on what it is. But yes, I've constantly been in his ear for sure."

On blocking for RB Le'Veon Bell: "I'm excited about the opportunity. We'll see what happens. We're going to block for whoever is back there. We're going to try to make the biggest holes, the biggest opportunities, the biggest gains in our offense that we possibly can – regardless of who's back there running the ball. Even if you bring back Marshal [Yanda] and get him at running back; he's small enough now. (laughter) So, no matter who's back there, we're going to do our best to make sure they have a great opportunity."

On if there are any developments regarding his contract situation and how deserving TE Mark Andrews is of the contract extension he received: "So, for the first part, we're just here to play winning football. No matter [where your] contract stands at, we're here to play winning football. We're going to continue to work hard and to play, regardless of what happens with that.

"The second part; just, I'm ecstatic for Mark [Andrews]. He's busted his butt. He's very underrated, in my opinion, and he's gotten what he deserves. I'm really excited about that. It's a great opportunity for him, and I know he's excited about it."

On what it means to have T Ronnie Stanley back: "Ronnie [Stanley] is a great competitor. He's continued to work his butt off. He's back. He's practicing every day; he's making sure he's doing the things he needs to do to be able to prepare and to be able to be ready for this game. So, [we're] excited to have him back out there. I know me and him will bicker back and forth about different plays, because we're both pretty strong-willed. [We're] just excited to have that guy back out there and just be able to compete. He's a great competitor, great tackle."

On the size of the offensive line: "Yes, we've got a lot of weight out there, for sure. We're just going to continue to work on our technique, our gel together [and] everything that we need to work on to make sure that we're a dominant offensive line – no matter how much we weigh, or whatever it may be."

DE Calais Campbell

On his excitement level for Week One: "We're excited. It's always a long time coming. To go through all the training camp and whole offseason, you can't wait for Week One to come, and it's finally here. So, I'm ready to get going. It's going to be a great challenge, but we're looking forward to it."

On Raiders' QB Derek Carr: "Derek Carr is one of those guys who can make every throw. He's had some brilliant moments in this league. They're well coached. His [Derek Carr's] ability in the play action game, and he just knows how to get the ball to his weapons and let them make plays. He's a great quarterback. It's going to be a great challenge."

On playing in front of fans again and his first NFL trip to Las Vegas: "Well, first things first, I've always appreciated having fans in the stands, but you don't really know how much you really appreciate them until they're gone. So, I'm really happy to have them back. I'm looking forward to it. Even in the preseason, you could feel the energy; it was quite pleasant. This week, when the games actually really matter, I can imagine it's going to be pretty intense. And being in Las Vegas, it's going to be fun. I know the tickets are one of the hottest tickets on the market. I'm looking forward to the game. I have a lot of family coming, so it's going to be fun."

On how he mentors DT Justin Madubuike to manage expectations, hype and all the outside noise: "Yes, he can't read the noise. That kind of stuff will make you relax a little bit. You don't want to relax. But he's very gifted, and he works hard, and he has a chip on his shoulder. He just wants to make every play, and that's something you can count on. He's a guy … I really like the way he comes to work every day – trying to learn. He spends time with pretty much every great player he can get a hold of and tries to ask as many questions as he can. He's always trying to learn, and he has a bright future. God willing, he stays healthy, I think he's going to be a great player for a long time to come."

On what he feels his responsibilities are as a veteran pass rusher: "I take great pride in keeping the game strong and just trying to educate the young guys on the things I've learned throughout my career. I have a lot of experiences that I feel like I can try to use to motivate, teach and help the young guys grow. We have a lot of talented young guys who I spend a lot of time with. Hopefully, they become the 'greats' in this game. It's fun to see some of the guys on other teams that I've been a part of kind of develop and turn into good players, but we have some guys here who could be really, really special." (Reporter: "Did you have anyone like that in your own career?") "Yes, of course. I've learned a lot. As far as like the older, older players, it was a lot of guys who were really good players. But there were guys who were at the tail end of their career and were there just to kind of be a voice and a secondary coach to help young guys, which was nice to have. But you know who I learned a lot from? It was Darnell Dockett. He was only four years … I think he was in Year Five when I was a rookie, but he really pushed me and challenged me a lot. It was a combination of him and a whole bunch of other guys. But it's always good to have those older guys who can kind of pave the way. They see your potential and they want to help you reach it."

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