Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
Jerry, we saw a couple times this week WR Breshad Perriman on gunner and doing some other drills with special teams. What are you looking to see from him if he were to have a role in that department? (Bo Smolka)"Well, as we all know, there are only so many guys active on Sunday. And, with our current roster construction, Breshad is going to have a different role. When you get to Sundays and you're not Michael Crabtree and you're … [When] someone has assumed that role for you, perhaps, you've got to be able to do other things during the game. There's only 46 active players, so when Breshad is up on Sunday, he's going to help us in other ways. That's the way we look at it. So, we're training him, and we all know how his career started out and the rough road he had to travel. He hasn't had a lot of opportunities to practice in special teams, because we've been trying to get him up to speed with the other aspects of the game. But now that he's healthy and ready to go, that's our task. We're trying to get him to engage special teams [and] have more skills, so he can do more things for us on Sunday."
For some of the younger guys, this also … Is this new to them? Most of them played special teams in college, but does it take a little bit to kind of get back to new responsibilities? (Todd Karpovich)"It always does, but I think this year like many years, when you come here, a lot of these guys had that understanding going into it. I think their … The position coaches that have been talking to them, the scouts that we have in our organization, special teams is important to this whole organization, and I don't think it's a surprise to them. Perhaps it's a bit of an eye opener when they realize how much there is to special teams in the National Football League. It's a whole different world. Even if they played in college, it's a whole different world in the National Football League, and I had that same experience when I went from college to the National Football League, even as a coach. There are a lot of eye-opening experiences for rookies in all aspects, and that's certainly one of them."
How comfortable are you with your candidates for kick returner? (Edward Lee)"I'm comfortable with the candidates. Somebody is going to win the job. Today wasn't a real good demonstration of ball skills that I saw back there. I had a lot of things to look at, but we'll watch the tape. But, it's going to be a competition during preseason. And I've always said this, that the depth chart will determine itself based on how the players play. And we'll see who does well in preseason, and practices are really important. But we've got some guys that we want to give chances in games against opponents. Another thing that I think is really going to be valuable for us is we get to practice against two other teams outside of a preseason game. We get practice sessions, and practicing against someone else is different than practicing against yourselves. So, that's another way that we can evaluate our roster."
Following up on what you said, there were some drops on kick returns today. Do you just chalk that up to this being the third practice of training camp? Are you concerned about that? _(Garrett Downing) _"Well again, I haven't watched the tape yet. I imagine I'm going to chalk it up to really bad technique. That's kind of what I saw out of the corner of my eye, because I was watching other things, but that's typically what happens. It's early in camp, but our returners can't be dropping the ball."
How valuable is it to have LB Albert McClellan back on the field? Obviously, he's someone who you're close with. What does he mean to your overall group? (Garrett Downing) "One of the things that I commented to John [Harbaugh] is that our special teams look different than it does in the spring, because we have Albert McClellan back, Anthony Levine back, Maurice Canady is back, and Tavon [Young] is out there full speed. So, we've got some guys that have experienced the National Football League playing special teams that are now not only able to practice, but able to raise up the other players on our roster."
Jerry, the new kick return rules, how is that going to affect your approach in the preseason both with what you do, and will you be watching other teams more closely to get ideas, stuff like that? (Aaron Kasinitz)"Yes! I think it's going to be an interesting preseason in that regard. The other thing that's going to be interesting is how it's officiated. We're still in that phase where we're asking questions, and they're answering questions and they're asking us questions: 'What have we seen? How is it going?' We're going to have NFL officials here during training camp, and that's going to be really good. We did that during preseason, and we had a lot of questions. Terry McCauley and I were having conversations before every practice this spring. I think that's going to be an ongoing thing. We really don't know what schemes people are going to be running until the regular season starts, real frankly, because everybody in the preseason is going to be a little reluctant to completely show their hand, but it'll be interesting. I think the thing that we're going to discover in the preseason more than anything – without going into a great explanation that's long-winded – I think the timing and spacing of this play is still yet to be discovered. When you get in a preseason game where it's competitive, where the other team is running down as fast as they can, the timing and spacing of the play is going to be interesting. That will determine how teams attack and how teams defend. We'll see what happens. It'll be interesting. I know this is going to be an exciting play, and I'm anxious to get going and see how it works."
Defensive Coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale
Opening statement: "I'll give you a little update of where we're at. It's one of those things I've been talking to the defense about. It's never, ever as good as it … It's never as good as it seems, and it's never as bad as it seems. Somewhere in between lies reality, and that's where we're at right now, especially with our young guys. I think the major focus right now when you get in the pads and the dog days of training camp is it's not only a physical training, it's a mental training – how they think when they're starting to fatigue a little bit. And some of these rookies, they're starting to see it and feel it, because we're not at full scale yet with everybody on the field, so they're getting a bunch of reps, which is good, because we're playing in what, nine days? I think we're playing in nine days, so it's good for them. But honestly, we're not real happy where we're at with the younger guys. But the veterans have been outstanding. You start up front with 'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs] and 'Big Baby' [Brandon Williams], and then you go to the second level with C.J. [Mosley] and the back end with [Eric] Weddle and Jimmy [Smith] and Marlon [Humphrey] and Brandon Carr and those guys, 'T.J.' [Tony Jefferson]; they're all progressing really well. And myself, I'm looking for them to come out and really start fast, but right now our whole focus is getting these young guys up to speed, and we have to do it pretty darn quick. With, that I'll get to questions. Go ahead."
Would you say that's typical when also having the young guys, is that the focus on the young guys? (Bo Smolka) "Yes, that's typical, and honestly, there's nobody tougher on rookies than me. But, there are even some second-year guys that are not where I expect them to be yet, so it's process, and we've just got to keep just fighting through it, keep playing fast. That's one thing; they are playing fast. They are playing fast, we're starting out practices really well, and we've just got to just keep continuing to finish it."
Is that more of a mental thing or a physical thing? (Mike Preston) "I think it's both. I think it's both, and, like I said, it's part of the dog days of August. And it's a little bit different, because we're having practices where there are not as many backups, because the guys that were not practicing yet at full scale, but no one wants to hear about your problems. What's the old saying? 'Ninety percent of the people don't care about your problems, and the other 10% are glad you've got them?' So we've got to fix it and get ready to play defense."
I saw S DeShon Elliott deliver a big hit and then a couple of different guys talking. Is that something where you'd rather rein in a guy's aggressiveness rather than it being the other way once the time comes? (Luke Jones) "Well, the biggest thing we talked to him about is with the new helmet rule; you can't drop your helmet. That was the biggest thing we talked about. And it wasn't … He just broke on the ball and that happened. That's football to me. I don't want to say I was glad to see it, that he dropped his head, but I was glad to see the actual [reaction] – how fast he broke on it and broke up the pass."
Is that something you like about him and his game – the physical, the physicality? (Luke Jones)"Oh yeah, he's going to be a physical football player – a fast, physical football player."
What's your impression of CB Anthony Averett? (Edward Lee)"He's really jumped out since our OTAs and minicamp. He's come back ready to go. He's done some good things."
Have you noticed weight loss by DT Willie Henry, and what are your expectations of Willie this year? (Edward Lee)"I noticed the weight loss when he came back for OTAs. He's really back up to weight. Steve [Saunders] and those guys in there in the strength [department], they've done a great job of lowering his body fat and things like that. So, he's moving it around. But it's really the same weight, he's just he's done a nice job this offseason of getting bigger, faster and stronger."
Can I ask what your expectations of DT Willie Henry are? (Edward Lee)"Sure! I expect him to be a great three technique [and] play well, just like all of them. I think he's ready to take the next step. I really do."
Were you surprised when you found out that CB Jimmy Smith would be able to be full go pretty much at the start of training camp? Is that something you [expected]? (Garrett Downing)"I was not counting on that. I was not counting … I made a joke last time that he's right on schedule. What that schedule is, I don't know. I didn't know how fast he'd come back with it at all, but he's coming back, and he's working himself back into shape with it."
Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg
Opening statement:"We are right in the middle of, sort of, the start of training camp, and it's right at that time where some of the young guys – their minds go. We haven't seen any of that yet, so it shows the preparation that they have put in. They're hanging in there really well with their alignment and their assignments and their communication and their technique. We're off to a really good start that way. Now to get the thing done the right way, you have to get better every day. So that's … And we're sort of at the start of all our instillation, so there's a lot of material coming at the fellas. So, great start and we have to keep this thing going. Let's open it up to questions."
With QB Lamar Jackson, where is your comfort level with his accuracy being up to the NFL-level? (Jamison Hensley) "I'll tell you what – Lamar's done just an outstanding job. Everybody in this league has some uncommon tools, and he certainly does. As far as his accuracy and all of that, he has really, really worked hard. And [quarterbacks coach] James Urban and he have really worked hard on that; [senior offensive assistant] Craig [Ver Steeg] is involved in that as well. You can see on the practice field – it's coming now. He's getting better every day. Now, there'll be a time where he takes a step back to take two steps forward, so a little anticipation of all that, but he's done an outstanding job up to date. He's way ahead of the curve now. This guy's a hard, hard worker – tough-minded guy."
The net with the colored circles, is that just another step to help all the quarterbacks as far as getting their accuracy improved? _(Jamison Hensley) _"Yeah, we've used that before."
How about QB Lamar Jackson's ability to throw on the run? He's pretty accurate. (Mike Preston)"Coming out of college – where he was very well-coached, by the way – that was one of his strengths. He was really a fine passer on the run. You can see that here as well. He's done a fabulous job here of improving every day becoming a pocket passer."
How did you think QB Joe Flacco did in his first full practice today? (Garrett Downing)"That's a good point. This was Joe's first fullpractice. Now, he's been practicing … He's been spending about an hour on the field, but he's gone through the one-on-ones and individual routes. Fantastic start today – he's on it. It looks like he's moving and grooving better than he has in several years, and I suppose that's because he's healthy. He looks pretty good that way. You remember two years ago it was the knee, then the back and all these things. He really looks good. John [Harbaugh] and James [Urban] and the fellas set a plan for Joe, you know ramping it up into training camp, and set a plan individually for a lot of the veterans – and Joe is one of them."
Do you think the pocket movement is a key for QB Joe Flacco to get him back to where he was a few years ago? (Luke Jones) "I'll tell you what – down the stretch now, Joe played at a high level. What was it – after the bye week? He was playing pretty good now. So we'll pick up where we left off there, getting him better and better. But your point is well-taken – the pocket movement – because if you go through it's a little bit cyclic. If you go through any one year of film, you're moving about half the time. Now sometimes it's just a subtle movement – a slide left, throw left, a slide left, a throw right, sometimes it's up and out, front door, back door, full scramble about half the time. But, many of those subtle movements are important, and once again he looks really healthy. If you remember now, it's been a couple years since he's been healthy. He was really a fine, fine athlete – and he is a fine, fine athlete, especially for his size. You know? [He's a] huge guy."
Does that give you more flexibility as a play-caller, knowing that QB Joe Flacco can move better now than he did a year ago? (Garrett Downing)"Oh sure, yeah, absolutely. Good point – well taken. You're absolutely right."
About four or five years ago, there were situations where QB Joe Flacco and another quarterback were on the field together, and he kind of derisively called it a "high school offense." What gives you the sense that he's more supportive of that now? (Bo Smolka) "It sort of is, but when used properly, [it's] very productive. You see what I'm saying? There's nothing wrong with a 'high school' play; we have a lot of them. But if they're done properly, they're very effective. I know I didn't answer your question, and I did that on purpose." (laughter) (Reporter: "Are we going to see more of those high school plays?")"We'll see. We're at the start of training camp. We're going to see what everybody's strengths are and we certainly will use … Look, we'll try to use all of our players that are eligible; we'll try to use the whole field, we'll get it to our best players more." (Reporter: "What about two tight ends out there? You have all these tight ends?")"Yeah, we're thick at the tight ends. It looks like we're quite a little bit deeper at several positions than we were last year. That's a really good thing, and certainly have skill and ability there as well."
Have you seen improvements with WR Breshad Perriman this summer? If so, in what areas have you seen that? (Jeff Zrebiec) "We've talked about this before. When Breshad is healthy, he's got some really, really uncommon skill and ability. W hen he's healthy, the man can help a team win – period, done, complete. So, he looks pretty healthy, and he's going pretty good right now."
Where do you see WR Breshad Perriman's confidence level?_ (Jamison Hensley)_ "I would think that most of the fellas in this league, confidence is sky high. They think they're Superman. In fact, most of them have a little too much, in my perception of that. That's a whole hour-long clinic."
Are you comfortable using RB Alex Collins in the slot? (Mike Preston) "That's a great point. When we first got him, [running backs coach] Thomas [Hammock] really, really did a great job, and he was sort of morphing into a really good pass receiver – both from the backfield and split. Then he had a little setback there later in the year, and now he's coming on again. So yeah, that's a good point. If he can do that, that will really add to our offense."
What is the best way, or the key, to getting QB Lamar Jackson the ball in whatever opportunity you can?_ (Jake Lourim)_"Well, we'll see – we'll see about that. I don't want to get into too many details on all of that. We'll see how it goes."
How did you feel G/T Jermain Eluemunor did at left tackle today? (Ed Lee) "Good! He's got the skill certainly and the ability and the skill set to play tackle. He's certainly a big, thick man – so that's unusual, because he has the feet to play tackle. I think he will be a very good guard as well. We're trying to utilize him at different positions. He certainly has the skill to play left tackle. Yeah – good point."
How have you seen teams give an added importance to the interior linemen? (Sam Fortier) "As you know, the line is so important. Usually, the top teams on offense, their line stayed reasonably healthy. The guys that have struggled – they had some injuries and guys were in and out and those types of things. The depth part of it is really important. Is that your point?" (Reporter: "Yeah.")
You've been running more elements of the RPO during offense. What exactly do you like about the RPO, and what can you add in with that offense? (Kyle Andrews)"We did a little bit of it last year, and we've done it over the years. You've got good eyes, because we did install it a little bit earlier this year. It's a little bit more part of the offense. You know, our base is this and we do these things and it makes the base very good. If you don't do these things, you get slapped in the face when you [don't do them well]. It's part of this now instead of that."
Closing statement: "I learned about [the passing of] Tony Sparano. Best wishes to the family; we're thinking about them."
QB Lamar Jackson
On how the first two days of training camp have been: "It feels good just being out here with NFL talent – you know, not college or high school anymore. So, you're a grown man! You have to show up and show out. You grind. It feels good."
On if he can sense a faster speed now compared to the spring:"Oh yeah, we've got on pads now, so everyone is showing out right now. They are coming up, showing how fast they are, running hard to the ball. Our defense is flying around, and our offense is doing a great job."
On having the fans cheer at practice:"I love the Baltimore fans. You can just catch an out route, like just a go-ball, and they're cheering for you like you're in the game or something like that. It's all love for the fans. We appreciate it."
On what he likes most about being in the Baltimore area:"My team, the fans! Everywhere you go there's a Baltimore fan showing you love, just like you are family. It's great to have out in an environment where you're not from. So yeah, that's cool."
On if he has picked up anything from QB Joe Flacco or QB Robert Griffin III:"I'm still learning. Everything they do, I'm trying to mimic."(Reporter: "Anything specific?")"Everything. Dropbacks – small stuff like that."
On where he feels he is in his progression: "I've grown a lot more from my OTAs, my rookie minicamp. I was tired at rookie minicamp – I wasn't looking forward to running around that fast early. But it kind of slowed down for me, and I just feel good right now."
On how he spent his time before training camp:"I was trying to relax. We've been grinding a lot for the past couple months. We have the Hall of Fame Game coming up real soon. I just try to stay away from everything, just try to ice my body, try to keep it in shape."
On working with the accuracy net:"Yeah, [quarterbacks] coach James Urban got me working on the net – working [my] footwork, pop passes, trying to get the ball out quick sometimes. It works – it does."
On him being used creatively on the field to get the ball more:"I wouldn't say 'get the ball more.' We're just trying different things for different disguises for different defenses – that's all."
On if he has adjusted to be utilized differently:"I'm just going with the flow right now."
On how much he is looking forward to game action: "I'm looking forward to preseason right now. I have to show them my talent in the preseason games, and we'll go from there."
On if he looks at the preseason as a big opportunity to showcase his talent:"Absolutely. It's a real game for me. I'm trying to show up and show out!"
On interacting with the young fans after practice:"It's just like it was when I was in Louisville. Just to see them shouting your name and stuff like that, like you won an award or something like that. Or … Not an ambassador or anything like that, but knowing that kids look up to you and they admire you is great. That's a great feeling."