Training Camp Transcript - Practice 8/15


Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg

On if WR/RS David Reed can get back to where he was last season:"Well, he's got a lot of practice to catch up on, but other than that, I certainly think that he's proven himself as an NFL returner. And the next time we practice kickoff returns, it will be nice to have him there."

On the new kickoff rules:"Well, I expressed my thoughts last time I talked to all you folks and I felt strongly, and I even feel more strongly now, that we're losing too much football. Going into the game, I didn't like the rule change, but I understood the reason for it and I respect the reason for it. At the same time, that play is a very valuable play in football. It changes games. It turns field position. Turnovers are involved, and I think it's going to have a profound effect on the way football is played if it's just a 'tee it up and kick it to the 20.' Everyone races down field, and it's just exercise at that point. I know people who are in charge of that rule did it for all the right reasons. I'm sure they're going to asses it in the future and find out if the players safety issues that they addressed are being addressed and how much football we're losing and then be able to balance those two. We all love the game, how it's been played. and we also, at the same time, have the same interests for our players' safety. So, there's got to be a balance in there – somewhere where we can find a spot where perhaps how we do the kickoff returns or some other method to not lose as much football, and at the same time, still address the issue of player safety."

On whether the new rules negate the advantage that comes with a kicker like K Billy Cundiff:"Well, I don't know if it negates the advantage; I think it equalizes it somewhat. Guys can now do what Billy did very, very well, and they can do it much easier. I think that the time of the season when hopefully we're playing in January and meaningful games in December, I think you'll see that Billy's talents will probably show up a little bit more, but it really doesn't make any difference if you kick it 11 deep or 6 deep. If it's not coming out, it's not coming out. That's, I guess, the way I look at it, so I'd like to see it returned, but I also understand the reason for it. Hopefully, we'll have another analysis of it, whether it's before the regular season starts or after the regular season is over, and we'll make some adjustments. One thing that I did notice during the game is that I don't think the fans liked it. (laughter) That's my opinion.* (Reporter interjects: "What were you hearing?")* There was nothing. Usually people get excited at kickoffs. I don't know if they went to the restaurant or the concession stand or what they did, but it was pretty quiet."

On whether the new rules will affect gameday rosters:"I don't think that is going to be the case. I'm not planning on that. I will lobby against that personally. Some people may make that decision. They really will. There may be a situation where guys who don't normally cover kicks may be in there covering kicks, just to keep another guy off his reps. That may happen. I'm not sure the makeup of the gameday roster will be all that much different."

On if he's heard that the rule may be changed before opening day:"No, I've heard nothing. I can always be hopeful though." (laughter)

On whether he feels his coaching ability and players' skills are being taken away by new special teams rules:"I don't… I can't speak for the players, but if I was a young player and I was trying to make the team, one of the ways I would try to make that team is I would show up on kickoff coverage and go make tackles and be the first guy downfield. That's an age-old method. They really don't have that opportunity right now, other than the fact that they're running through the end zone and trying to look fast, but they haven't really made a play. As far as the coaching aspect of it, we're really not coaching any differently. We're preparing for kickoffs – we're preparing to have them returned. We just haven't had any live fire, so to speak."

On how use of practice time will change when preparing special teams:"We discussed that during the offseason, how we're going to adjust our practice time, and that's one of the things we discussed. We want to practice the things that make a difference. If Billy's getting touchback after touchback, that's something that we're going to adjust in practice time and utilize some of the other phases perhaps in those time slots. It's just a natural reaction."

On changing strategy so that they do get to cover kicks:"We're going to cover some kicks this weekend – we'll say that – or I guess Friday it is. We want to explore that in the preseason. We're really not sure about the geometry yet because it's different than it has been. We think we're going to be on top of the return team, quite quickly, with our kickoff coverage given the fact that we're starting five yards downfield. But the kicks are different, so you kind of have to figure out all the timing and the angles. We're going to take a shot at it this weekend and see what happens. We'll analyze it from there."

On if the position of kick returner is completely open:"It's training camp, and David [Reed] hasn't been here. I think David's certainly got the leg up, so to speak, because he had such a good year last year. When's he's fully healthy, we'll get him back in there. But just like kickoff coverage, there are guys that want to show their skills with kickoff returns, as well, so we're asking them to be aggressive. But hopefully, they'll get an opportunity to return a couple more this weekend to show us what they can do."

On whether the returners are told to return the kicks and not take a touchback:"Well, you don't want to be put in a situation where offense is starting on the 10-yard line either. It affects the game. When you're going into the game, you're really trying to win the game at the same time, but you don't want to disadvantage another phase of the game in doing that. We've told them to be aggressive and we've kind of established a point of no return, so to speak. And we're going to stick with that as we go forward this weekend."

On whether they are just going to disregard the new rules and practice the way they are used to:"We're not going to do that. (laughter) We want to practice what it's really going to be like, so with that in mind, we're going to try to get our kickoff team down the field from the normal 35-yard line spot and try to get our kicks where we can cover them and they bring them out and we see what it's like. Because that's what we're really trying to do; we're trying to get a real game situation for us not a 30-yard line kick, because we don't plan on kicking from there during the season."

On how much impact the shorter distance has on the play:"I think the shorter takeoff distance has probably affected the timing of the whole thing. I don't think it's affected the total speed of the play. The players are still getting used to that, because they haven't done it much. So as a result of that, we had a couple guys who were a little bit behind the get-off. But I think the guys, when they're taking the line… I didn't put a radar gun on them, but I would suspect that Brendon Ayanbadejo was pretty much full speed when he hit the line – in a current status, as he was last year."

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron

On if WR David Reed gives the team another option at wide receiver:"It was great to see him back. He has worked extremely hard to try to get back physically, and it looks like he has gotten the OK to practice. We will just kind of take it day to day. It's still early. We have to make sure he is in shape. We don't want to have a pull, setback or any of those things, but it's nice to have him out there."

On where Reed fits into the mix:"We'll see. I don't think we really know at this point because we really don't know everything about all our receivers yet. There is still a lot of competition. A lot of things can happen in the next few weeks. I think the smart thing is to just take it one day at a time and don't get too far ahead of ourselves. We are going to have to make some decisions in a couple of weeks, but we don't have to make any decisions today. So, we'll just let him improve and let the other guys continue to improve and hopefully build some depth and hopefully put together a nice group of young receivers."

On what he sees out of WR Lee Evans:"The people that I have talked to talk about what a pro he is [and] how hard he works. Obviously, he made some plays against us last year, in our own stadium. We saw it live. We know what gameday looks like and feels like, because he can run. The thing that caught my attention was… He had been here 10 minutes and we ran a '9 route' and he got on top of the corner. Joe [Flacco] says to me, 'That felt different.' Then he got right on top of a corner on the next one and Joe underthrew him. I think there is a speed and an explosion that feels a little different that I think every team needs and is nice to have."

On FB Vonta Leach's first preseason game with the team:"He didn't play... What did he play, 10 plays? It's early, but he's a great practice player. He is great in meetings. The film speaks for itself. He is obviously a great fullback. I don't like to make comparisons because it is hard to compare guys equally, but he reminds me of [former Ravens FB] Lorenzo [Neal] when Lorenzo was roughly that age. He is obviously a great fullback. I am glad to have him, I can tell you that."

On what the young wide receivers have to do to win the third and fourth receiver spots:"A lot of things. How fast they pick things up and are ready to play… We have a game right around the corner. Then, you have to finish plays. We are not going to put guys out there for any other reason than that they can make plays, finish plays and help us win. We have four critical games prior to the bye [week]. We are not looking to develop any players during the season. We are looking to put the guys out there that can help us win and develop. I think there's a big difference between trying to just develop players. We want to develop our young players and have them help us win at the same time. If we don't think a guy can help us win, we will wait until we feel he can, and that's when we will start playing him. I think that's the most important thing."

On if rookie T Jah Reid can figure into the mix on the offensive line by Week 1 of the regular season:"He's in the mix, whether he wants to be or not, period. In my mind, he is either going to be playing or one or two plays from playing. In my mind, it isn't anywhere but he is playing until he is inactive. We are trying to get that point across to a lot of these guys. There are no four-year scholarships. There are a lot of different things that go through these guys' minds. We are trying to get you ready to play and help us win games and help them do their job. They have a job to do. We have to get past some of that other stuff. Let's just start getting our job done, let's start working together, let's start getting ready to go win football games, and let's simplify this thing a little bit."

On if there have been any discussions so far about moving G/T Marshal Yanda back to right tackle:"That's always a possibility. Pretty much when you have seven linemen active in a game, the guards can play tackle and you have to have at least a couple guys who can play center. As you know, you are going to try to find a way to work your best five into some combination. It may not be ideal, but it's probably your best alternative. We'll come up with what we think is our best alternative."

On if the new additions to the team have altered his plans for the season:"Absolutely. I think that is one thing that I can do a better job of, is adapting to a new guy quicker. I think Lee [Evans], at least in our conversations, and I think with 'Q's' [Anquan Boldin] help and obviously Jim Hostler, we're wanting to speed up the process to get these guys acclimated, again, for a lot of reasons that I just stated. We have a game coming up. We have to play. We are trying to win the game – we are not trying to bring guys along. We are not trying to develop guys. That is part of it, but we want to win while we are doing that. I know I can do a better job. We, as a staff, are challenging ourselves to do a better job, and yes, we are going to tweak things to do what they do best and grow from there. We're getting those things figured out. I have a good feel for Lee and I have watched him. I have watched all his tape, all his snaps, for basically his whole career. I have a good feel for what he can do. The young guys we just have to bring those guys along as quickly as possible."

On if guard has been a better position for T Oniel Cousins, rather than tackle:"It has. It was something that was brought up this summer. You are playing the scenario game this offseason, and that was something that we thought up. Actually, it came in one of our personnel meetings. They said, 'Well, what about… Let's just move him to guard if we have some tackles.' With Marshal [Yanda] not practicing, that was a good opportunity for us to take a look at him. I thought he did a nice job. It might be. We are still looking for 10 linemen for our roster. As I said earlier, those guys are going to have to play guard and tackle anyway, so why not learn it now?"

On if there are any concerns with Yanda:"He is one of the toughest guys in that locker room. I don't have any concerns with Marshal. My guess is he will be out there. He is one of those guys you know you can count on."

On what improvements he is looking for on Friday vs. Kansas City, having said that he wasn't too pleased with the offense's performance at Philadelphia last week:"Interesting because one, I never said that, and two, no one asked me. Were we thrilled? No, but there were a lot of good things that guys did individually. You do make a great point. Collectively, we didn't do a great job, collectively, but – and I am not taking anybody off the hook – really, I looked at some things individually in that game. That was the most important thing – the individual performances. Collectively, we are going to have to get better these next two or three weeks. If we continue to play like we did the other night, then obviously, I think there is going to be a concern. But, I thought, individually, some guys did some really, really good things. They probably didn't do them as consistently as we would have liked, but we'll do better, and there were some good things done the other night."

On what way RB Ricky Williams affects the run game, as opposed to Willis McGahee:"They are just different. Ricky [Williams] has been in the system longer. There is absolutely zero adjustment. He has been in it with [San Diego Chargers head coach] Norv [Turner]. We were together for a year. He is familiar with what we do. He is familiar with the terminology. [With] Willis [McGahee], it was a little bit of an adjustment, but [they are] two very good football players. [They are] two very good runners. One maybe had a little more third-down value than the other, but they are both really good backs – really good football players."

On if moving the practice indoors hinders what the offense can accomplish:"Offensively, the last thing you want to do is go inside unless you are playing a dome team. I think it's smart if the ground is slick – it's smarter. You are probably not going to get as many people pulled. We want to be out in the rain. We'd be out in the rain every day, offensively, if we had our choice. I thought today going in was smart, and I understand why we did that, but we'd rather be out in the elements. Other than that, you get everything done you need to get done, and if you ask the players, they probably think you get more done."

On the task of blocking Chiefs LB Tamba Hali in Friday's game vs. Kansas City:"Just another good test. He got after us a couple of times in the playoff game. I think he caused one of the fumbles, a turnover, that led to their first score. He is one of those guys that used to only line up on one side, and now he plays both sides, so we are going to have to be aware of where he is, like any great pass rusher. It might take some double-teams, some triple-teams. We haven't really worked on them just yet, but we'll have to put together some kind of plan or he can create problems."

On if being an offensive coordinator now is a different challenge than it has been:"I think it has always had its challenges, but we have a heck of an offensive staff. I don't think we are working any harder, any more or any less than we ever have. These guys have come up with – especially on third down – some clever stuff. The traditional thinking… You have to throw traditional thinking out starting about 10 years ago. We have had to be more creative with our protections and you have to be ready to evolve and adjust, because you are always going to get something every week that you haven't seen, even when you think you have seen most of them. There are a lot of things you see now that you haven't seen before, and a lot of it started right here, in Baltimore. The Ravens' defense really has a lot to blame with the whole deal."

On if he has found a reason why the team faltered in short-yardage situations last season: "It's interesting, because it wasn't anything unique to third down. It was unique to just some overall blocking. We just didn't block as well as I think we were capable. While that took place, I think we have some ideas, and we are on the right track to get those things corrected. We are going to get bigger people out there. We are going to get stronger people out there. At times, you might see two or three of our defensive guys out there in short-yardage [situations], like you did two or three years ago. I think we have to be more creative in short-yardage [situations]. If you can run over a team, you run them over. But, if it's a team that is stout and physical, you are not always going to be able to beat your head against that wall. You have to maybe spread people out. So, the combination of spreading people out, bunching them out, running them over, running outside, throwing the football, all the combinations – keeping people off balance in short yardage – I think that is the important thing. With all that being said, you still have to block people, and I think we have to block people, and I think our guys know that."

On if the Ravens are stout up front compared to other teams:"We're going to try to be. It's the things that we have been talking about. We really don't know yet. Getting Marshal Yanda back to practice, all of the things you are asking about… We are going to know more in the next two or three weeks."

Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano

On whether the defense had the look he wanted it to have against the Eagles:"You know what we had… After reviewing the film, we had no issues with the effort. The concerns that I mentioned going into the first one, you know, [were] tackling. We know we can improve on that. You worry about penalties; we jumped offside. We did a lot of things to beat ourselves, but the effort was great. They were flying around. They were swarming to the ball. That was good."

On CB Cary Williams working with the first team:"He's done nothing but great things out here and he's earned the opportunity to work with the 'ones.' And now, what he's got to do is he's got to be consistent. We've got great competition at a lot of spots. We've got great competition in the back end, so these guys are pushing each other. They're a great group of guys so we'll see how this works. It'll figure itself out."

On what it looks like having a big cornerback like CB Jimmy Smith:"[He] looks very good. We're used to guys [vice president of public and community relations] Kevin's [Byrne] size, (laughter) and they played well, they played really well – just like Kevin does his job really well. When they prance out there, it's very comforting. You've got two 6-1, 6-2 guys out there with long arms and guys that can run. It makes it really difficult. When you play tight coverage, it forces the quarterback to put it in tight windows and makes it really hard for the receivers to get off the line. They've got to earn everything, so those guys are doing a great job."

On starting a series at the 20-yard line:"When they start talking about sky kicking and working on coverage, I'm like, 'Come on, just kick it out of the end zone. The 20 is fine. Just take the thing out.' I know coach [John Harbaugh], being a special teams guy, said it was a yawner, right? I'm sitting there… If you go back and look at the stats over the last 10 years, if someone is going to go 80 yards on you, they're only going to score 16 percent of the time. So, kick it out of the end zone. We'd love to start from the 20. Even if it's in the middle of the field, we don't care."

On having consistent pass rush protection:"It's going to be… Obviously, all we talked about in the offseason was sack totals and pass rush. If you watched the tape and you watch what's going on out here at practice, those guys are doing a great job. All those guys are coming off the edge. They know the defense now, the maturity level is a ton better and the confidence level is growing. Paul [Kruger] is a really talented guy, and so are the other guys. So, they're going to do nothing but great things for us, and that sack total is going to go up."

On rookie DE Pernell McPhee:"You know what? When the scouts brought him to us, and we started looking at him, we saw him in the Combine, this that and the other, and you watch his tape in college… The guy has what we call Raven traits. He plays like a Raven. I mean, he's relentless. He's a violent, violent football player. Not to mention he's from Pahokee [Fla.] *(laughter), *same town as Anquan Boldin. A lot of players come out of the Muck [Pahokee]. We used to recruit the heck out of them when I was down at Miami. So, this guy is a great kid. He doesn't say anything; he just comes in here every day and he's like a sponge. With his coaches, [defensive line] coach [Clarence] Brooks and [outside linebackers] coach [Ted] Monachino, and then with the veteran guys, he's learning. He's soaking everything up, and then he comes out to practice and he's just going at a thousand miles per hour. He's nonstop, and he's getting better every day. I think his production in the game is just a byproduct of what he's doing during the week."

On how CB Jimmy Smith is progressing during training camp:"With all those young guys, obviously, no offseason hurt all those guys. And then coming in here, it's been an eye-opener for a lot of them – coming in here and understanding what it takes to be a pro. But he's making great progress. Jimmy [Smith] is a really, really bright guy. I think as you guys talk to him in the media you'll see that he really has a lot going on and he's savvy. Nothing really bothers Jimmy; he's a cool cucumber. He's just learning everything. Again, he's not where he should be because of the set back, but now that we've got him out here we're kind of force-feeding him in there. And it'll be interesting. We're going to up his reps this game. I can't wait to see him play."

On LB Brendon Ayanbadejo evolving from a special teams player:"Everybody has always looked at him as a Pro Bowl special teams guy, and we found a role for him a couple years ago, and he jumped right in there and learned the package and learned the defense, and then the injury kind of set him back. And we didn't really have a fit because we couldn't get him in there. And now, you know, he had all that time early with everybody sitting out – all those linebackers who couldn't practice until Aug. 4 – so he got a ton of reps. He knew exactly what to do, and he went out there. And the guy can fly. He can cover, he's a great blitzer and he's playing as physical as he's ever played. So, his stock is going up big time. He's going to be a great addition for us."

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