Training Camp Transcript - Practice 8/17


Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement:"Good practice – good spirits. It really kind of wraps up the, I guess, the training camp phase. We're still in training camp in the sense that we'd be coming back home at this date. We'd be leaving Westminster right now if we were in a normal scenario. So, the format changes next week. We'll be in more of an in-season type of a format, maybe a little more than we would do in season but not a lot more than we would do in season – a couple plays here and there. We're excited to get back home and play in front of our home fans for our first home preseason game. Obviously, we're excited about who the opponent is. [This is] a very good football team in Kansas City coming up. They obviously won their division last year. We played them in the playoffs, they're a heck of a team, and they've only gotten better in the offseason. They've added some former Ravens that we would have liked to have had here, so they've got some good players. They've got a lot to play for. I know they're very highly-motivated to come here and play, and I think we understand that."

On whether there is a game plan going into Friday's contest against the Chiefs:"Well, you know, we way more try to get done what we're trying to get done than… We don't really prepare for much at all. We look at some of their blocking schemes, maybe some of the routes they run, the front they're in, maybe some of the coverages they play. But, those are NFL fronts, NFL coverages, things that we've been working on throughout camp anyway – the stuff that we're going to see in the first four weeks anyway – stuff that we've already been working on. So, there is no game plan at all this week."

On why LB Ray Lewis was not at practice:"Personal, family matters – something he has to take care of."

On the status of G Marshal Yanda:"We're definitely playing it safe. It's not something… He's got back spasms, like I've told you. Nothing major. No new injury or anything like that to the back. The linemen, they always have back issues over the years. All football players do to some extent or another. But, we're going to keep him out the rest of this week for sure. Whether he'll go next week or not, I don't know. You know Marshal, he'll want to go. If we have to hold him back, it will be us holding him back. But he's going to be out this week. It's not a serious thing; he's not going to be out for the regular season or anything thing like that, and he'll probably play next week."

On CB Cary Williams working his way up to playing with the first team:"Right, that's a great point. That's kind of the point that you really try to make sure everybody understands. We always tell them: 'Don't count numbers.' You never know what's going to happen. And really, what it's based on is how well you play. If you play well and do the things that you need to do to be successful, then things are going to work out well for you. Cary [Williams] is very talented, he's worked very hard. I think he's been in the system now for over a year-plus. He really understands the defense. But, what I like about him is he's playing with great technique, and at corner, that's so important. He's got a lot of talent, but he's playing with great technique."

On how long the first string will play against the Chiefs:"I think the starting group, so to speak, will play well into the second quarter. We have a shorter offseason this year. We didn't have any OTAs. We need to get ready to play. We're going to be playing a regular season game very soon. But, there are certain guys who don't need to play that much. I think Ray Lewis is an example; Ed Reed is an example. So, I think those guys will be pulled a little earlier."

On whether QB Joe Flacco is taking control of the offense and the offensive strategy:"I think we've seen that a lot. It's just been built into the offense in the offseason. I said it last year a lot, that there's more stuff in there than you realize, but there's more this year. I think [offensive coordinator] Cam [Cameron] and the offensive coaches have done a great job of building the offense in a way that Joe really has the choice almost every play. Some plays we come out, call and run it. We call it a carry play, call and run it, we're just going to run the play no matter what. We're protected in all of our runs. Or, if it's a pass, it's just called. But, I'd say at least half the plays are plays, maybe more, it's going to change from week to week, but in training camp, at least half of the plays we've called out here have been plays where he's had a choice to make a decision. He changes a run to another direction. He changes a run to a pass. He changes a pass to a maximum protection or back to a run, and he's done a great job with that."

On what he hopes to accomplish in the game against Kansas City:"Well I don't want to see sacks. That's pretty… I definitely want to do a better job with that. I think we're going to be… It's not going to be… Bryan [Mattison] is going to be there at center. He actually did a very nice job, and that was a big game for him. That was one of those games where the guys really have got everything on the line – the first time he had ever played the position – and if he didn't do well, it might have been the last time he ever played it realistically. And he did really well, so that's a plus, but that's not our starting center. He's learning, especially how to make the calls. Oniel [Cousins] will probably be at right guard; that's a whole new thing for him. Of course we'll have Jah [Reid] as a rookie at right tackle. That's part of the process. I don't think we're going to look like we're at mid-season form. But, I'd like to see us be solid in pass protection and get the run game going a little bit."

On whether he talks to former defensive coordinator Greg Mattison:"I've talked to Greg [Mattison] every now and then over the summer. But, I think he's got his hands full right now [at Michigan]. I'm sure he's talking to Bryan [Mattison], but he's got that Michigan defense he's rounding into form."

On whether there are areas that he has to remind himself about the shorter time frame they're working with:"It's in every area probably. You just have to take a deep breath sometimes and say we're not where we… Where my eye says we should be – whether it's just in terms of execution or in terms of personnel – we just have to take a step back and say we're going to keep working on those things. We're going to keep working on… There are guys out there that can help us through trades or something, those things usually got done three or four months ago. So, it's a very strange training camp that way."

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