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Training Camp Transcript - July 31

Opening statement:"Good to see everybody. We had our beginning today, and our guys did a good job."

On an update on DT Trevor Pryce, who was carted off the field:"Trevor getting carted off… Trevor got stepped on. He got stepped on. He's going to be OK."

On how it looked today with all the fans in attendance:"Amazing atmosphere. We had the cheerleaders back there cheering. I think there's a high school cheerleading camp here. I don't know how many [fans] were here, but the place is absolutely stuffed. I remember standing behind, as we started the live drill, looking up, and they were on levels back here – up on the steps, on the hillside and everything. Guys are excited about that. It makes it fun to get out here. We have great fans. It's been a good day so far."

On if the tempo he wanted was set after the first full-team practice:"I think our guys came out and had a good practice. We had live periods, obviously, at the end. There was a lot of moving the ball, so that's basically a scrimmage. We did ones against ones; not very many people do that. That was good to see. And we came out of it healthy. Guys took care of each other throughout the practice, so it was a good day."

On LB Ray Lewis losing weight and how important he is to this team:"Ray is the guy that's been here since the beginning. If it's anybody's defense, it's Ray's defense. Obviously, a great tradition has been built here, and you've got to say that he's what it's been built around. I think losing the weight has been good for him. He's excited about that. That was his decision, along with Vic Fangio. They talked it out, and he decided he wanted to be a little bit lighter and maybe a little more active. He looks good."

On if it's nice to have OLB Terrell Suggs out on the first day:"Yeah, [No.] 55 is in shock right now. This is his first training camp in a while, so he's feeling his way around. (*laughing) *We've assigned a couple of veterans to 'Sizzle' to make sure he knows where to go and how to get there."

On S Ed Reed's status:"We just don't want to put it in a situation where we take a chance. We don't need to. Ed knows how to tackle. He'll pick his spots a little bit that way, but we want to be smart."

On reports that Reed is on the Physically Unable to Perform list:"The bottom line with all those guys is that anybody who had any issue started on PUP, and we just eased them back in and wanted to make sure they were ready to go. The policy applied to him like all of the guys."

On if he starts evaluating young guys and who will make the roster from Day One: "I would say we started from the first day they showed up. We evaluated them before we even chose them, because we picked them. It's all part of the process. You try to have it all together, and those guys have been working hard for a long time. Today is kind of a moment… It's a special moment for rookies, and you can ask them about it. But, they put the pads on for the first time in the NFL. That's new. I don't care what level of football – junior high, high school, college – you go to the next level and you put the pads on, you're nervous about that. The fact that we didn't come out here and have a bunch of busts, and guys didn't drop the ball… There were obviously a lot of things we can work on, but when you put the pads on for the first time and hit live for the first time, you can lose your brain a little bit. Our guys did a nice job, I thought, of holding it together, the young guys. No brains on the field." (laughing)

On RB Willis McGahee's progression:"Willis looked good. He was explosive, he ran a couple of people over out there. It was a good day for Willis, a good start."

On where he sees S Dawan Landry and his recovery from last season's injury:"You see him at strong safety. That's where I see him. He's our strong safety, and he looks good. He's going to be fine. This guy works harder than anybody I've ever seen. He's just the hardest worker you'll find in this league. Every bit of success he has, everybody should be happy for him. He's ready to go."

On if he is ready to take this offense to a new level even though the wide receiver situation is not ideal: "Well, we need to, No. 1., we've got to get better. We've got to get better in a lot of areas. But I think we are better. I wouldn't say today was a reflection of that, which is obviously our first day in pads. Looking at the offseason as a whole, I think we're better up front. I think our quarterbacks are better. I think all our running backs are the healthiest they've been. It will be running back by committee. You could see all three of them in the game at the same time. You could see any combination of the two. We've got three good running backs, and I think everybody is clear that you need three guys, at least. Our tight ends… We get L.J. [Smith] healthy. Todd is coming out of the box pretty quick, which is exciting. Then, the thing that everybody is talking about is obviously our wide receiver position. I'm excited to see how it plays out. I really am. I feel the same way about Derrick [Mason] that everybody else does. So, I don't think we need to revisit that. With that being said, we've got a lot of talent, a lot of young guys. They've got to make the same strides in their second year that Le'Ron McClain did last year. So, we've got to take another step and get better."

On if his offensive philosophy changes because it is his second year with this offense and QB Joe Flacco: "Well, we've got some new guys. That's the one thing: Very seldom does everybody come back. Potentially, we could have a new right tackle. We have a new center. We could potentially have a new receiver or two in the game. So, there are enough new guys that we really have to re-invent ourselves first. We've gone back to basics. We'll do that. Then, we've just got to let it play out. The philosophy… We're going to run the football, we're going to take care of the quarterback. Does that mean we're going to run it every down? Absolutely not. We're going to throw it when it's most advantageous to do it. I think that will prove itself out throughout the rest of the season."

On the confidence he has in his offensive line: "I've got a ton of confidence in these guys. We'll get Marshal Yanda back pretty quick, I think. I don't think that will surprise anybody. He looks pretty darn good. So, I'm excited to get him back and see where he's in the mix. I've got a ton of confidence in these guys. We've got to get better. Michael Oher… We can't take anything for granted. We can't assume anything. He's still a young player who hasn't been exposed to NFL defenses on a day-to-day basis yet. We've got to let him take that natural growth process. But obviously, I feel awfully good about our line."

On if he is surprised about G/T Marshal Yanda and how quickly he has recovered: "No, quite a bit of time has gone by. I think all you guys know what kind of guy he is, the kind of worker he is and how important football is to him. So, no, I wasn't surprised at all."

On the difference in RB Ray Rice from his rookie year until now:"Like any second-year guy, they're going to play faster because they're really not thinking about what they're doing. They understand what to do. It's more about, at least I think, understanding NFL defenses. You could really pick up the offenses quicker than people think. Football is football from an offensive perspective. NFL defenses really won't make it easy on you. I think that's the thing. I think he understands NFL defenses, so he can read the defense better and that's a normal progression."

On if he is proud of taking a team that is mostly known for defense and has now made it a team that has a reputation on offense: "Well, you know, every player or coach in this business – you get stung. That's just the way this business is. I think there is a ton of great examples of people that come back and continue to do good things. I'm not different than a player. You learn from any situation you were in. You come back. You've got to get better. You move on. That's just what you do. I think that's what the great coaches in this league do and the great players in this league do. If you can't bounce back then this is probably not the profession for you."

On if he is proud of what he did with this offense last year to help it evolve: "There was a lot of talk about that last year. I looked at what we had last year and there was no doubt in my mind, I didn't come out and say it, but in my own mind I felt like we were going to be pretty good. I really never understood all of the negative things that were said. With that being said, last year is long gone. I really don't remember as much about last year as you would think. We had a new group of guys. That's the approach I like to take and we take here. This is this team. This is this years' offense and we've got to get better, because we know there is no defense that is going to overlook us. Maybe we got overlooked a little bit last year."

On if WR Demetrius Williams looks healthy and what he has shown thus far:"He seems like he is. I think we've all made it clear how much confidence we have in him. If he can stay healthy, there is no doubt that he is a player. He's got to continue to battle to stay healthy. Everyone around here is excited about Demetrius. We know he's a player. We've got to do everything we can to get him the football, and he needs a little bit of luck. Luck plays a factor in this thing. He's had some bad luck and maybe luck is on his side this year."

On what he is looking for QB Joe Flacco to build on in his second season: "I think similar to… When we were talking about Ray Rice, his understanding of NFL defenses was good last year. Joe understands football. It comes natural to him. He picks it up quickly. But at the same time, the more you're in this league, the more you understand the personnel. Not the scheme of the defense but the personnel of the defense. Just that alone should take him to another level. Knowing where the true matchups are on a given play. You don't miss a matchup that's in our favor. Maybe we missed one last year. That's usually where the growth comes. The ability is there. Everyone out here today can see that. The matchups on a week-to-week basis and those differences are the little things that the great quarterbacks can take advantage of."

On if they are asking Flacco to do more this year: "Well, maybe that's true. It's really hard for anybody to know what he's being asked to do. We ask our quarterbacks to do a lot. If you're starting quarterback, we're going to ask you to do a lot. It may not look that way at times, but there is a lot of leeway for our quarterbacks – in and out of plays, formations. But at the same time, as a young quarterback grows, you'd like to think you can do more. What that means, I guess we're going to have to wait and find out."

On his offseason workout regimen:"Same things, just shredded it a lot – lost about 15 [pounds]. I wanted to come in and play a lot lighter. Anytime you have two-deep D-linemen, I'm excited about that. We have a rotation that we wanted to have before, and when you have that type of rotation for your [linebackers], that's a big thing. You can just run all day and have fun. It's good seeing Kelly [Gregg] back; he's out there like a little kid. He doesn't know all the tackles just yet again (laughter), so we need to get him back in to that. But overall, for me, it feels good to be back, and I'm just excited for another year. Here we go."

On how it feels to know it is his 14th NFL season:"First of all, it's just a blessing to God that I can come back and do it year after year – come back with no injuries, no setbacks and things like that. Anytime that you can find yourself feeling as good as I've been feeling this past offseason, training-wise, you really have fun training. That's what I went back to – I had a lot of fun training this year. There was no lagging and things like that. Fourteen – it's a great number. For me, I'm always chasing to do some different and new things. I keep them to myself, but it's a lot of great goals I have set for myself."

On what his first-ever NFL training camp practice was like 14 years ago:"I can't tell you. I can't tell you what it was like then. That was too long ago. I was 17 years old. I was just running around, trying to figure it all out. You know, all the old guys were coaching me here and there, the [Rob] Burnetts, Eric Turners, all those guys, man. I'll tell you, what you do get from it, you do get the sense of how many guys – when I was young, how many guys I leaned on – and now for myself, being the veteran, how many guys lean on me. You know, not just when we get here, but the whole offseason. If anything is more exciting, it's just the advance from where I came from in 14 years is always a great thing."

On the state of the defense after several offseason changes in personnel:"It's always business as usual. People don't understand – over the last 10 years – we have to know how many coordinators we've seen. We've seen coordinators come in and out. Who we are is who we are, bottom line. We're going to always stick to our identity with who we are. Congratulation to Rex [Ryan]. Go ahead and do your thing at the Jets, but we're Ravens. We're Ravens for life, and that's an honor. The bottom line is, the way we play defense is our mentality – it's not a coach's mentality – it's the way we play. Whoever comes and goes, it was good playing with you, but it's time to go on."

On whether he can imagine playing for any other NFL team:"Never. Never. Never. I would never leave my city. I love it too much."

On why he "flirted" with other teams in the offseason: "With who? I didn't flirt with anybody. I mean, I flirt when I pass by a beautiful woman walking down the street.*(laughing) *That doesn't mean I talk to her. *(laughing) *I'll tell you the thing, when you really look at all of the things that go on – I'm not going to name names – but all of the people who change and try to do this and try to find out that, I don't want to ever go anywhere. I'm bred here, I started my career here and I'm going to end my career here. I would never go put on another uniform and play for one year, two years. No, it's just not worth it. It's not worth what's invested in my city, what I give back to my city off the field and what my city gives back to me. There's no greater reward than that. When you hear the things that people say, that's a reward, that you know you can help change someone's life through your efforts and going out – whatever it is – on and off the field. I love Baltimore. It's just a great place."

On the state of the offense and public questions at wide receiver:"I say if you're going to judge us, judge us as a team, because that's what we are. We bought into that. Years, we've been dealing with the same thing for years. Last year, we had heard the same speculation coming into the year, that our offense was going to do this. Bottom line, we've got some great young talent over there. Ray Rice, to me, is just one of the most exciting players to watch play football. Joe Flacco is growing up. We get our first-round tackle drafted and our offensive line is back in tact, and that's where winning starts from. It starts from in the trenches, and we have that again. That's exciting, from the offensive side and the defensive side. On the defensive side, we're running two-deep, bottom line on the defensive line. As a team, we're built. We've got one mindset – beat us as a team – because you can't beat us as an offense and defense. You've got to beat us as a team."

On whether he gets hungrier for another Super Bowl as he gets older:"Yeah, what it is, is you try to get young guys to clue in on how important it is. You know, of guys who went 14 or 15 years and never saw a ring – you try to express that taste to them. Opportunities don't knock like that. I still tell them, you think about the AFC Championship last year and you're talking about five minutes away from going to a dance. Those opportunities don't come every day. I used to watch football for a long time, and for me now, it's just the excitement of having the right guys in the right place. That's kind of what the energy is. So, getting them to focus in and clue in and say, 'We can go be whatever we want to be,' that's my job."

On whether he is the same player he was five years ago:"I think I'm probably better now because I'm just wiser. Wisdom overrides talent any day. Talent fades – wisdom never fades – wisdom grows. That's why I'm a better player, because I can make my team better. I can make guys better around me. Making plays, for me, on a football field is the easiest thing I can wake up and do. Influencing men is what my challenge is every day. You know, to get a man to go full speed every play, to get a man to study, to get a man to understand if you want to do something great, [then] go work to be great. When you ask me if I'm good, I'm only better because what's around me is better. Every year they say, 'Your defense is getting old,' but it's hard to be old when you're always No. 1 or No. 2. It's hard to be old when you haven't seen a 100-yard rusher in two-and-a-half years. It's hard. Those things will energize me day in and day out, to come back and always be a better leader."

On how they bridge the gap this year and advance to the Super Bowl:"Oh, easily. Bottom line, you leave no room for error. Last year, you go back to [the AFC Championship] – and coaches will hit on it in practice – you take one or two of those penalties away from any one of those Pittsburgh games, everything is different. That's the bottom line. Now, you've got to come back and leave no room for error. You've got to come back with a different type of wisdom. If you're going to hit someone in the back, boom. If you're going to go make a tackle, [then] go make the tackle – things like that. The bottom line is this is a game of inches. You can go back and watch all three of those games that we played them, and it was always one play away from [winning]. That's the thing that we have to go back and correct, and hopefully we get back to that position where we won't make the same mistakes."

On whether he has spoken to WR Derrick Mason and if he can speak to Mason's mindset:"No, I can't. I can't. Sometimes you want to, but I can't speak for [Derrick]. [Derrick] is one of the hardest workers I've ever seen. For him to make that decision, there's a reason he made that decision. There's a reason that whatever he's going through… You know, I pray for him every day. Coach Hue [Jackson] gave me his number and I'm going to reach out to him, but I want him to take his time to figure out what he and his family are going to do. When he makes up his mind as a teammate, he'll get in touch with whoever he's supposed to get in touch with. That's one of the greatest warriors to play this game, and you have to appreciate, whatever decision he makes, he makes. I won't speak for him, but I know that Derrick Mason is probably making the decision that's best for him and his family."

On how many years he has left in his tank: "Only God can tell me that. Only God can tell me that. Anytime I feel as good as I feel, and I can keep leading these men the way I lead these men, life keeps going. The one thing about me is when I'm done, I'm done. I'm not going to keep going back and forth. That's why I train the way I train – that when I do step back on the field, it's like I can just go have fun again. So for me, year in and year out, it's always, 'What's next? When is it over?' Only God can tell you when it's over. I'm having too much fun playing right now."

On his impressions of LB Jameel McClain:"He's a youngster, man. He's a young warrior. I love his attitude about the game. The thing is, he really challenges me. When people say I'm so studious about the game, he challenges me every day like that, 'Why'd you do this, or why'd you say that?' That's when you know a young guy is really interested in becoming better, and he's one of those young guys. Talent-wise, he's going to always be able to do that, but the bottom line is what he wants to learn. Every second of the day is what's most exciting for me."

On whether he feels more confident in saying they have to be beat as a team this year than he did last year:"Well, that wasn't the question. The question was do we worry about the offense not being this and that. And I was like, 'If you're going to defeat us, you're going to defeat us as a team.' There's no one side to any of this. When we step on the field, we're one heartbeat, bottom line."

On whether he feels more comfortable saying that this year than in years past:"Yeah, absolutely. Every year you feel confident, but with the young talent we've got now, why wouldn't I feel confident?"

On if he is aware of the debate that is starting saying that he could possibly be the best safety of all time and if he enjoys it:"I mean, you've got to enjoy it. I listen to that, and like I [said], everybody's good, and everybody's the best in their own right. It was a different time when Ronnie Lott and [those guys] played. I feel like the game was more physical. There weren't as many rules as they have on the game today, offensive rules and stuff to help the offense. With comparisons to Troy [Polamalu], knowing how Dick LeBeau moves him around, and he's at D-line one time, linebacker another time, not playing safety the full right. He's a great football player, though, not to take anything away from Troy. I just try to be my best to help my team. That's all you can do. You let everybody else do the comparisons."

On if the change in defensive coordinator has brought a new look or if it's still business as usual:"It's business as usual, and [there's] some new stuff in there. You expect to have changes every year. Even with Rex [Ryan], we came in and we had different things we did year to year. It's a couple of little changes. We'll see how it goes, but at the end of the day, we've got to get out there and execute and play football regardless of who the caller is."

On if he feels like his old self:"Yeah, I'm feeling all right. They let me practice a little earlier this year."

On if he wants to return punts:"I don't know. If I'm needed and coach [John Harbaugh] allows me to… Because sometimes it's in the swing of the game that I ask to do it, and he lets me go back there. It's really a point of whatever it takes to help the team win. But, we've got more than enough guys that can do different things on this team right now and great athletes back there returning kicks."

On the feel he has for head coach John Harbaugh now compared to last year:"He's all football, he's all football. I think there is some stuff that comes with being a head coach, that you have to be a certain way. I think coach knows that, and he has great mentors around him to help him be a good head coach. At the end of the day, he's my head coach, and I'm going to play on his team. There are certain things I have to abide by. It might not be all the time we agree with each other, but that's a part of being a family and working with each other."

On an athlete he's never played with, but would love to play with and why:"I don't think he's in this league, not even in this sport. I grew up watching Michael Jordan – his work ethic and the intensity he brought to a team. I always patterned what I did on the basketball court after him, but I took things he said [about] work ethic and as a person. When you watched him, he made others around him better. But, he always gave his all at what he did, even when he was sick. It was really, more or less, in college than it was in the pros, because that's when he was more or less still playing. If I had a chance to play anything, it would probably be a game on his team. We'd have to talk about 3-guard though, because that's what I played. I can play the 2 right now, shoot, or go play golf with him. That'd probably be it."

On what LB Ray Lewis demands and brings to the table as a teammate:"Ray is like that Michael Jordan figure on this team, to go back to [the earlier question]. His work ethic is totally off the charts. His intensity and his film study and what he knows about the game is what makes you want to get better. Obviously, I took my game to another step once he and I started watching film together, and just picking his brain on things. Now, Ray is that father on the field that's getting guys lined up. And, they can learn how to play the game by just watching him."

On if he or other guys go to Lewis with personal problems:"I'm sure guys go and ask him questions. I still would ask him things if it came across me. I mean, I'm 30 at this point, too. It's like, guys come to me… Everybody feeds off everybody. There are so many things that go through the locker room. Guys go through many situations that you hear. So you can learn. Sometimes you don't have to ask. Sometimes, Ray will just give it to you."

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