Training Camp Transcript - Aug. 3

Head Coach John HarbaughOpening statement: "Good to see everybody. Before we get started, I just want to make a quick comment on the hat [that I am wearing]. You guys all see it, right? The desert [camouflage] with the 'SURGE.' We gave all of our players, a couple days ago, this hat, and we talked a little bit about what has been accomplished in Iraq by our troops over there. Just on behalf of the NFL, on behalf of the Ravens, on behalf of our players, we want to thank General Odierno, General Jacoby and all the troops in Iraq – especially the ones who are Ravens fans. (laughter) We really appreciate you guys for what you've done. NFL players respect military personnel more than anybody. I think it's because of the courage. I think it's because of the sacrifice that they make and the courage that they display every single day in what they do. This is just a little token of our appreciation. You'll see our players wearing it around. The Ravens sure appreciate what's going on over there."

On if he is relieved that LB Terrell Suggs' injury will not keep him out for long: "Suggs should be fine. He put in three really good, hard days. He is off to a good start."

On the intensity of practice today: "We had good intensity. We had good intensity out here yesterday, too. We had a short yardage scrimmage yesterday. We had a goal-line and short-yardage scrimmage again today. We had a move-the-ball drill that was thud. It gets competitive. That's how our guys like it."

On how TE Todd Heap has looked so far: "Todd has done a really good job in the offseason getting himself ready. He looks like he's getting himself ready to have a really good season. He'll be the first to tell you that he's got a lot of work to do between now and then, but he's done well."

On RB Ray Rice and how he has progressed since his rookie year:"The thing is – it's always probably been true – that your biggest improvement in your career, as a football player, at any level, is between your first year and your second year – high school, college and pro. That's when you make the most improvement. So, our rookies – last year's rookies – need to make the biggest jump that they're going to make, probably in their career, between Year One and Year Two. They've been focused on doing that. We talked about that, with those guys, in January, February, after the season and March when they came back. Ray has taken that to heart. We expect him to make that improvement."

On how great it is that WR Derrick Mason is back out there not missing a beat: "No, he hasn't missed a beat. He's talking, too – full force. So, we had some fun out there. He's really running routes well, catching the ball well. Derrick was in shape. Derrick worked hard and he's ready to go."

On rookie DB Lardarius Webb and how well he has played in camp so far, especially against taller wide receivers: "The thing you're going to find is that we challenge our corners out here. Domonique [Foxworth] has been challenged. Frank [Walker] has been challenged. Now, Lardarius has been challenged. We got after them. Cam [Cameron] goes after them – that's kind of his mentality. Lardarius, had one caught on him today and defended all the rest. Rookie, veteran, whatever it is, you've got to be ready to play. We're going to keep challenging them throughout the rest of this camp."

On how the defense has always talked back and the recent aggressiveness of the offense thus far: "I wouldn't categorize it as talk. I think our guys are competing. There is always going to be a little bit of talkback. To me, it's good natured. It's teammates getting after each other and competing. You want to bury the other side, and you want to build them up at the same time. Our guys are fighting and competing, and that goes with it. I was out there talking too much. We've got nowhere else to be, right? We might as well have fun with what we're doing."

On if seeing G Marshal Yanda out there is encouraging: "Very encouraging. But not surprising, especially if you know Marshal. The guy kills himself. It looks like he's going to be ready to go."

On if rookie free agent DE William VanDeSteeg is playing well:"I think our scouts – starting with Eric DeCosta and right on through – did a really, really good job seeking out and signing college free agents. Those guys are all competing for a spot on this team. You can start with [William] VanDeSteeg and you can go right on through. They've all looked good. So, it's going to be the more good players you have, the tougher those cuts are. That's better for your team."

On how special team is progressing thus far: "It's hard to say because it's hard to really practice special teams at the same level as the other two phases. Practices have been very good. I think Jerry Rosburg and Marwan Maalouf have taken this to another level. You can just see it in practice. We're much further along – if I make a comparison – than we were last year at this time. But, that doesn't guarantee anything. You've got to go out there and get after people when Sunday rolls around. We're excited. We think we're going to be good on special teams."

On if he sees any signs that QB Joe Flacco is more of a "take charge" guy: "I thought he was a 'take charge' guy last year. So, he probably knows the offense even better. The terminology – he's directing it more that way. Joe gets after them. But, he got after them last year. That's kind of already him. We want him to continue with that. The main thing Joe has to do, like every other player on our team, is play better the next time than he did this time. Just keep getting a little bit better. When you make mistakes, learn from them. When you make great plays, learn from them, too. That's a big enough challenge for him."

On why he hasn't been out there on special teams drills: "Were you watching today? We were out there. The knee is flaring up a little bit though. (laughter) It's all right. [Kelly] Talavou had me in his sights. I ran down there. I was at the R4 – that's the fourth guy from the outside. [Jim] Hostler was in there at the R5. So, we had a race going. Hostler can run. Then I asked Marwan, because I needed a little tip, 'What's the call?' So, he told me the call and I realized I was in the wedge. I ran down the field and I realized it was Kelly Talavou and 350 pounds. He had this big old grin on his face. I was begging for mercy running down there. The wedge rule didn't help me on that. I couldn't get around Kelly."

On how important head athletic trainer/vice president of medical services Bill Tessendorf is to this team: "It's interesting because you look around – we've had a tough camp. I'll say we've had a physical camp. You don't see a bunch of guys out here riding bikes, with tape off and not being ready to go. That's a credit to Bill Tessendorf and the rest of our training staff. It's a credit to Bob Rogucki and John Dunn. Really, more than anything, it's a credit to our players. These guys came ready to go to camp. It's showing up in the way they're practicing and the health part of it."

On his injury:"We were doing pass-rush [drills], [I] tried to stop, and just strained… I have a little strain in the heel. It will be all right, though, nothing but a couple of days. This isn't anything to get worried about. It's nothing to get all worried about. We got it. We're good."

On if he was worried at first or if he knew it wasn't a big deal:"I knew it wasn't a big issue because I hobbled off on it. Anytime you can walk on it or hobble on it, it's not that bad. They said just a couple of days, just treat it, and I'll get back as fast as I can."

On his opinion of training camp:"I don't know how I view training camp. At this point, I'm not a big fan of it, especially since last year I didn't have to do it. I was really fresh come the first game. But, it's good to become a team. This is a good time where it's just us up here, just the team up here, and you guys. You get to become a team up here. The fans get to see you practice. They don't really get this up-close and personal to you. It has its perks. It also has its downfalls."

On if he thinks there are too many preseason games:"No, because it gets… I don't think there are too many of them. It gives a fair shot to see everybody on your team play. The vets, we don't play that much in preseason. We play a little bit, but we don't play as much. It gets us to see who really can play in game-time situations. I don't think it's too many. I think the number is good, four."

On if his teammates are saying anything about his contract:"Yeah, I heard Derrick Mason say that I'm not buying dinner now, I'm buying houses, or something like that. That's the new thing, [to] buy people houses. (laughing) I don't know. They've been joking about it. But, they know me. They know I'm not like a big guy like that. I'm more of a football player than I am anything else. I'm getting hoopla right now, but it's cool."

On the change of his wardrobe, from wearing Yankees hats to Orioles hats now: "Yes I did. I figured if a city is willing to invest in my future, and my kids' future, I better change what hats I'm wearing around these days. I've found enough O's hats to go with my wardrobe. So, you all won't see too many of those other kinds of hats. So, I think we've got that nipped in the bud."

On his fitness level compared to last year: "I don't know. The only thing that gets you in shape is football shape. My fitness level… I could have used a couple extra weeks to get ready for a training camp. Just a couple. It's all right. It's good. They're doing a good job of just getting me enough running, right now, to get in great football shape."

On if he is not going to put extra pressure on himself and stay the same: "Like I said, the way I play is the way I play. I think the extra pressure comes from people outside the locker room or on the field. I'm not particularly worried about it. Like I said, I'm the same player that they've seen. That's why we got a deal done."

On if he is putting extra pressure on the kickers and messing with them in drills: "No. We just need to know that they can produce under pressure. We may need them to win a game for us."

On his thoughts of the kickers so far: "They're doing good. Especially… We've got the FSU guy. We've got our kicker from last year. They're doing really good. So I'm liking it, but I'm always going to have a little fun with them."

On the Pittsburgh t-shirt that he wore the other day: "The fans liked it. My team liked it. The rivalry is on. I think we've got the biggest rivalry in sports right now. So, I'm letting them know we're itching for another shot at them. So, we'll have to see what's up."

On the balance of the Ravens' defense: "I like the balance, because on this team you've got to be a certain type of player. I think Ozzie [Newsome], coach [Greg] Mattison and the scouts – they do a great job of bringing those guys in. Right now, we're just playing fast and physical. Then we'll get to the more technical stuff as camp goes on. Right now, we're just out here having fun. They're out there having fun. I felt like the kid who couldn't go outside and play today – watching them out there running with pads on. It seems like we're having a lot of fun right now. We're just anxious."

On how important head trainer/vice president of medical services Bill Tessendorf is to this team: "He's big. He's big. He's one of the best trainers in the whole NFL. He does a good job of keeping us healthy. Like I said, I haven't missed a game yet. He's a big reason why I haven't missed any games. Unsung hero – definitely. He doesn't get enough credit. Bill and his staff, Mark Smith – they do a great job of keeping us healthy. They go beyond the call of duty. Sometimes they're in the training room at 5 am. Even at night, they're over at the hotel still treating guys. They do a great job."

On if TE Todd Heap is getting back to form: "I don't know. We're going to have to ask him. I love Todd. I've been watching him since he was in college. We went to college together. So, Todd has never changed just as different offenses have changed, whereas, one offense, tight end was predominantly featured, then, one offense he wasn't. So, I think Todd has never left. I think sometimes the schemes just change."

On if the money he has received will change his style at all: "No. No. I mean, let's go ahead and take the grey out: Ray Lewis is probable the greatest player to ever play the game. There is no contract or money that's going to change that. I think that all that… This is where the market is. Next year, you all aren't even going to remember my contract because some player in the NFL is going to break that, just smash it. Players are not defined by their salary. They're defined by what they do on the football field. Like I said, my role doesn't change. I'm not even second [best on the defense]. I'll take third, maybe. But you know, it goes Ray. Then there is 'Quick' – Ed Reed, 20, in the back. Maybe then there is me. We run a certain structure on our defense, and [Ray] is our leader. So, like I said, let's go ahead and take the grey out: Money doesn't define position on our defense."

On what defines him playing in that AFC Championship game with a hurt shoulder: "That doesn't just define me, that defines our defense. All 11 of us are out there. It was an opportunity to go to the Super Bowl. You don't pass that up. If you can run, you can play. All of us knew that it was a possibility that it was Rex's [Ryan] last game. It was like we didn't want it to be. We wanted it to be down in Tampa. So, it just defined our defense. I think Ray would have done it. I think Ed Reed would have done it. You know, Samari [Rolle] dealt with his condition all last year and played. Haloti [Ngata] and Kelly Gregg – no doubt would have done it. I think it defines our defense. Not just me."

On how much pain he was in during that game: "All I can remember is the pain I felt when we lost. It was like that overpowered the pain that was in my shoulder. I wanted it so bad. I could taste it. I just wanted to feel the confetti drop on my face. But, we tip our hats off – not too long – to the defending champs. But, it's a new year."

On if he is proud that he hasn't missed a game in his career: "Yeah, I'm proud. It shows that I'm dependable. You can always depend on me to line up and play for my team and my city."

On how camp is going for him so far:"Camp is going great. I came in in shape, feeling good. So far it's gone great. We've had a couple of two-a-days, and now we're back to the normal schedule. But I've been feeling good."

On if he feels like he has a new lease on life heading into this season:"No. I mean, anytime you come into a new season there's a new excitement. There's a goal in front of you, and that's what you do every year, set a goal and you do everything you can to attain that goal. I think that's where we're at right now. We're trying to do everything we can to get ourselves ready to where we can reach our goals."

On what he did to get over his injuries:"It took a while. It took a lot of work. I put in a lot of work this offseason. There were points when I was saying, 'Man, am I going to get there?' But in the last month and a half, I just made strides every day. I've been feeling really good. I came into camp the first day, and I was coming out of the blocks as good as I ever have. I feel good about it. I feel good about where I am, feel good about where we are as an offense at this point. We've got a long way to go, but right now we're looking pretty good for this point of camp."

On if it feels like part of him has something to prove since his numbers were down last season:"[It's] not about numbers, but there's always something to prove. Every year I've come in with something to prove – that's just my philosophy. There's nobody that's going to hold me to a higher standard than myself. Obviously, I want to come in and have a big year, but first and foremost is that our team has a big year."

On if the timing and rapport with QB Joe Flacco is better now: "We had the first 10 or 12 days of camp where we were just getting to know each other last year. This year, we've got a lot more time under our belts. Obviously, we've been working the middle of the field a little bit more. It's fun. I think that confidence with Joe, and that trust with Joe and myself, is going to continue to grow. We've worked that into the game plan a little more."

On if flexibility is important in training:"It all works together. It's been the same thing forever. You always have to work both. You have to make sure your flexibility is where it needs to be. It's different for everyone. I define what works for me. Coming off the back injury, that was something I hadn't experienced before, but about midway through the offseason, it really started to get a lot better. I'm feeling great right now."

On if he feels like tight end could be a strong position on the offense with him and L.J. Smith:"I definitely feel like it can be. I'm just waiting to get L.J. out here to where we can work together and really feel what it's like to block next to one another, to run routes with one another. I'm excited about L.J. I've watched him over the years. I know he's a great player. We can put some pressure on some defenses with two tight end sets and them not knowing whether it's a run or pass, or what we're going to throw at them or where anybody's going to line up. I'm excited about that, bringing him in here and going to work."

On Year Two of head coach John Harbaugh's training camp, if it's better or worse knowing what to expect:"I think it's a little bit of both. You come to camp every year and there's… You can do all that you normally do in the offseason, you can do more than that, but you come into camp and put the pads on, you're still going to have to go through that. You're still going to have to lose your legs those first few days. That's kind of where we're at right now. Everybody's battling through that, and I think we're doing a great job of it. You see us out here hitting. Everybody's getting after it, running to the ball. Everybody's flying around. That's the type of camp we've had. Last year was the same way. This year we're coming out, we know what to expect, so we're a little bit ahead of where we were last year."

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