Opening Statement: "You look punch-drunk right now. *(laughing) *Was it the longest camp in the NFL this year? There might be something for you there. We're just going to try and see if we can make sure we beat them next year. You guys are happy to hear that, right?"
On whether he gave the guys a little reprieve by cutting practice short today: "We changed the practice format. We decided to take out a lot of the individual and group install stuff, and we focused on team stuff. So, I don't know if it's a reprieve. In some ways that practice is harder, because it goes fast. So, it's not easier, but it is shorter."
On whether he felt the team did well during camp: "Yeah, you know how they worked. That would be the top thing. The thing to me that I think they did a good job with in a long, really demanding camp, was they took one day at a time. Just like we all agreed we would do, and just try to have the very best day we could have. And they did that. So where does that leave you? We'll find out in the long run, but we'll go into this game… You know we all have our legs underneath us. We're in a camp mode still. We've worked through this, and we'll have to work through Monday night and see how we do. But we've had the best camp we could have at this stage, and we just need to keep building on that."
On whether it was a little easier on him being that it was his second camp: "I don't know. It seems like there are new challenges every year. Was it easier, was it harder or whatever? Every year gives you a different set of challenges. So in some ways, every year is a new year. But, I knew where the cafeteria was, I knew where the fields were, that helped." (laughing)
On whether LB Terrell Suggs is getting closer to returning: "Yeah, I think so. But I thought he'd be back before now. So, you just go with what the trainers and the doctors tell you. I know that – as far as we've been told – there's nothing serious in there. But it's, like I said, a nagging thing. You have that heel and it gets sheared in there a little bit and it's hard to heal. It's really delicate, supposedly. We're trying to really push him on the cardiovascular and make sure that his heart rate and all of those things are where they need to be. Hopefully, he'll be back as soon as possible."
On whether the transition between defensive coordinators this year has been relatively seamless: "Yeah, I think the transition has been seamless, because all the coaches on the defensive staff were here last year. So that really helps. They've been very supportive of Greg [Mattison]. We have a really good staff. We've got Chuck [Pagano] and Mark [Carrier] in the back, and Vic [Fangio] in the middle and Clarence [Brooks] up front. I mean, that's a really strong group of guys, and Greg is just… This is not Greg's first time around the block. He's been a defensive coordinator for years, and that's showing up. I think the players feel it. I really like the package, how it works. If we stop people, if we don't stop people like we want, [then] that's going to be on us – players, coaches, all of us together. But I think we've done a good job in camp and we have a chance to be a really good defense."
On whether T Michael Oher has taken ownership of the right tackle position:"Well, Oniel Cousins has had some good reps in there, too. But Michael knows that that's his job to win, and I think he's going about it like that. It's not his job to lose; it's his job to win. He's trying to take it over, and take possession of it, so to speak. And I think you've obviously noticed that. He's done a good job with it."
On whether the "ones" will see about the same amount of playing time Monday night: "Yeah, this is generally a somewhere-in-the-second quarter, halftime-kind of a game, we'll see. It just depends on how many snaps they get. We'll do a little snap count and every guy… You say the 'ones,' but there are different 'ones' in there; there are younger 'ones,' there are older 'ones,' so we'll do it individually like we always do."
On the progression of RB Ray Rice this year and how good he can be in the NFL: "How good he can be depends of Ray, really, and Wilbert Montgomery, obviously coaching him, and us putting him in the right position to make plays. I don't see any limits for him, per say. I'm really interested to see, too, what kind of running back he can be. He works really hard at it, he makes the most out of every day, he's enthusiastic, he loves football, and he's talented. So, why put a limit on him? We'll have to just see. It's going to be fun to watch."
On whether this is the Ravens' deepest defensive line in recent years: "I think it's the deepest group we've had since I've been here. Now, I know that's not very long, but for Trevor [Pryce] to say that is really high praise. And it says a lot about Clarence Brooks. He develops defensive lineman. We have guys on our roster right now that other teams gave up on and have come in here with Clarence. We've seen it. They're good players, and they're going to be really good players. So, that's a tribute to the coach."
On how the team has progressed in terms of special teams: "How well we play remains to be seen, but you can see it just monitoring and evaluating the practices. We're light years ahead of where we were. Now what does that mean? It's a fine line. We have to go out there and play well. Our returners have a lot to prove. Our coverage teams… We're still going to be one of the younger groups in the league – which can be a real plus. I mean, you get a bunch of young guys flying down the field, that's a good thing. But they have to know what they're doing. We talked about it before, young guys… It's so hard in special teams to learn from somebody else's mistake. They really learn from their mistakes, and I don't know why that is, but it's always been that way. So, hopefully they made their share of mistakes last year, and we're OK, but that's going to come up, too. But we're excited, and like we said yesterday, we really need to be good on special teams. That's going to be very important for us."
On if he is excited to break camp after being out here for six weeks: "It's going to be different. We're not sleeping in a hotel anymore, so it's time to go home and lay in your own bed. I'm looking forward to it."
On if there is a progression from the first preseason game to the second preseason game: "Oh yeah, of course. No doubt about it. Just to make more plays and have a longer run than I did the first preseason [game] – that's the main goal."
On if this camp is tougher than last year's camp: "I believe we're more accustomed to it. We knew what to expect. We knew what we had to do to come into this camp and be ready for it. I think we worked pretty good this offseason to get ready for it."
On if he can clear up what he said earlier in the offseason on about playing for the Jets: "Well, the guy asked me if I would play for the Jets. Then I was like, 'Yeah, I'd love to play for Rex.' I guess they blew it all out of proportion. I never said I was going to the Jets or I wanted to play for them. He just asked me if I would ever play for Rex with the Jets and I said, 'Yeah, I would love to,' just because I know him and the type of person he is."
On if he looks forward seeing Ryan on Monday and earning some friendly bragging rights: "To tell you the truth, I think it's going to be more than just bragging rights. People want to go after each other this game just because you've got Rex on one end and coach [John] Harbaugh on the other. So, it's going to be quite interesting."
On if he expects LB Bart Scott to have a few choice words with anyone:"Bart is going to be Bart. That's one thing you already know to expect from Bart. He's a great player, great guy. Bart's going to say what he's got to say and get it out. So, I look forward to hearing what it is."
On his thoughts as camp is about to break:"My thoughts are on officially leaving here tomorrow. That's my thought. It was a good camp, and I think having one year to go through it makes a big difference. This year, I think guys are lot more comfortable with the program and how it works. You can tell by the way we performed on the field. Going through it once is always a shock to the system, doing it different. Now it's old-hat. Now it's just football."
On if there's a big difference between former defensive coordinator Rex Ryan's defense and current defensive coordinator Greg Mattison's defense:"You know what, until they change the rules of the game and we play with two footballs, it's the same. All of us… That's why defenses seem to dominate training camps and practices, because really there's no timing to it. We don't have the issues the offense has. We're just 11 guys, 'Hey, find the football.' It's not real difficult. I don't think there's much difference at all. The players are the same. The system is basically the same. There are some wrinkles here and there, but I think we're going to be fine."
On if the biggest difference between the two coordinators is with their personalities:"They're not opposites. They both love football, and they're both students of the game. The personality stuff – everybody's different. Everybody has a different way of dealing with adversity and dealing with success and all those types of things. Now, we haven't gone through the season yet with 'Matti,' but I've known him a long time. What you see is what you get with him. There's not going to be a lot of funny stuff and quips and all that. The one thing that is different, he gives us more time to meet with our position coaches, and I think deep down inside he's really a defensive line coach. That's what I know him as, a defensive line coach. He spends a lot of time with us, and I'm like, 'Don't you have a secondary to deal with?' He'll say, 'Oh no, those guys will figure it out.' (laughing) We wind up doing twice as much because we almost have two coaches."
On if Mattison is more aggressive than people realize:"Yeah, he's just as aggressive. I think the thing he's going to allow, too, he wants the coverage guys to cover, the rush guys to rush. Every coach I've had, I've been around, everybody has a different philosophy. But what I've always heard is that the rushers rush and the covers cover. That's what he is."
On if he did much today in practice:"Me? I did a little bit, did a little bit."
On the reason for his limited activity:"C.B. [Clarence Brooks] said, 'Let's stand here.' So I stood there." (laughing)
On the depth of the front four on the defensive line:"It's not a front four, it's a front three. (laughing) And we are incredibly deep. There are a lot of good football players. Having Dwan Edwards back is just as big. I don't think people realize how important he is, and how good he is, or what he does. Or Kelly [Gregg] and [Justin] Bannan. I could name them off. But, everybody has a lot of strengths. There are not many weaknesses. Whatever we're not good at it, we try to work on. It's as deep, the deepest, D-line I've ever been on by far and away."
On his opinion on the future of the Ravens' offensive line:"I think in the beginning, it means that there might be some struggles early. The regular season, the game picks up, and it gets a lot faster. But, Jared Gaither, that's old-hat to him. He's been a starter for a long time. Being a former basketball player, his feet move a lot quicker than offensive linemen's feet should move. I think [Michael] Oher, he's catching up. He hasn't missed a practice. He hasn't gotten hurt. He comes out here and he's very quiet. He does his job and they're not yelling at him, so he's obviously doing a good job. I could tell you from first-hand experience, he's a strong, strong guy. I think they'll be just fine."
On if he still considers this more of a 3-4 defense:"It depends on whether or not whoever's playing the rush linebacker puts his hand on the ground. And that's a personal preference. If it's [Terrell] Suggs out there, and he puts his hand on the ground, we look like a four-man front. If it's Paul [Kruger] out there, and he stands up, we look like a three-man front. So really, it just depends on whatever that guy wants to do, is what we look like. Really, it confuses nobody except for them."