Training Camp Transcript - Practice 8/23


Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement:"[It was] a good practice. It was a Friday format that we had today. Obviously, it wasn't quite as fast or as crisp as we would like it to be. I think the young guys were learning how this practice works. Obviously, the veteran guys understood it, so it was an introduction. We [are] trying to do that all this week – to introduce the team, especially the guys that haven't been here before – to the in-season format and practice. We have done no game-planning. We have done very little preparing for this game from the standpoint that it's a game. But, we use the format of practice to get ready for the regular season."

On how long the starters will play on Thursday night vs. Washington:"We'll see. I probably have plans, and then once you get into the game, you probably sometimes adjust on the run. Our plan will be to play them into the third quarter – maybe the whole third quarter. You will see certain guys that won't go that long, as usual. Ray [Lewis] is not going to go that long. Ed [Reed] is not going to go that long – [Terrell] Suggs, Haloti [Ngata] and those guys. But, there are other guys that really need the work, so we will be pushing them into the second half."

On DE Cory Redding:"You saw how well he played the second half of the year [last year]. I think that was him adapting to our style of play – the techniques that [defensive line coach] Clarence [Brooks] teaches. I think he was really excited about what he was learning from Clarence. [He] applied them to his game and played so well. He has picked up right where he left off from last year."

On the improved level of play and maturation of LB Dannell Ellerbe:"I'd say both. Guys tend to grow up sometimes, and Dannell, I think, made a conscientious effort. He talked to me when he first came in here. He had done a lot of thinking about it. He has always been a hard worker. He has always been a good person – a good-hearted person. I think he saw some things, just from a professional standpoint, that he could grow, and he has done a great job of that."

On if rookie QB Tyrod Taylor will be the backup quarterback or if there are still other options the team is looking into:"The cement is still wet. We'll see. That was pretty good wasn't it? *(laughter) *He is doing well. I think he could be our backup quarterback. By the same token, we will keep our options open. You never know who is going to become available."

On if he has been pleased with the pressure the defense is getting on the quarterback:"Yeah, I have been. We had 14 hits on the quarterback in this last game – five sacks, obviously. But, by the same token, we had that last year. We had a lot of hits on the quarterback last year. We didn't come up with as many sacks as we wanted. I'd like to get more hits, obviously, but that was there last year. I think the opportunity to make those hits into sacks is what we are looking to do this year more."

On expanding the fan base outside of Baltimore:"I just think it's a unique situation that we have with the Ravens, and really, in this whole corridor. How many football teams do you have in this corridor? We're kind of in the middle. You've got the Redskins. You've got Carolina down south a little bit. You've got Pittsburgh. You've got Philadelphia, and then you have the New York teams. For us, we are right in the middle of that whole deal. We've got to, I think over the course of time as we grow as a franchise, is keep growing our fan base into this whole Mid-Atlantic/Northeast region. That is really not my area, but I am told that there are a lot of young people that really like the Ravens in this area. We want to build on that. We can take all help we can get from the fans. We want as many fans as we can find."

On the Josh Wilson quote that the Redskins have more tradition than the Ravens:"I didn't see that. The Redskins have been around for 100 years or something like that… 70 or 80? That's the difference. We've only been around since 1996, so I think that was the context of that quote. We won't take offense to that." (laughter)

On whether he's hoping that their playoff record will prove they are a viable team to the fans:"I don't think it's a big deal. We're going to compete against them on the field Thursday night – that's all. All that other stuff is fun; it's fun for the fans. You know, the guy that coaches my daughter's softball team, guy named Grady, he's a Redskins fan. I think, finally, after three years of coaching Alison, my daughter, we may have swayed him to the Ravens. So that shows you how tough it is."

On whether they are hoping to win the game or just show improvement:"All of the above. We want to win. We always want to win. The guys who are going to have to win the game in the fourth quarter are going to be the young guys – just like they were able to do last week. And that was good to see. But yes, we want to see us developing into a winning and a championship football team. The things that you will be able to recognize, whether it's on offense or defense or special teams, we want to play well. They're going to go against a team that's playing really well in the preseason. If you watch the tape on the Redskins, they are dominating in the preseason. That's a huge test for us. They've done a great job with their team, and it's just a great opportunity for us to get better."

On S Tom Zbikowski and the competition for staring safety:"Tom [Zbikowski] played really well. I put all those guys in the same category. What's interesting about those guys is that they all play with a different style. So, as we look at this thing – and talking to [defensive coordinator] Chuck [Pagano] and [secondary coach] Teryl [Austin] – building packages for these guys is going to be what it's all about. You guys talk a lot about who is going to start and all that. They could all be starting based on what package is on the field. I know we say that, but the game is changing that way. Tom has done a great job with the coverage stuff and a great job with the pressures, and that's probably his forte."

On the new signing of DE Michael McAdoo:"It did happen, and he's on his way here. So, he's going to get a physical at some point. Don't know much about him. I've heard good things about him. I know he got caught up with some situations at North Carolina, but he's supposed to be a good guy and a talented guy. So, we're looking forward to seeing him here."

On the increasing maturity of Ellerbe:"It's a process for everybody. And, it's a different process for every player and every coach. It's a different process. The things that one guy has to overcome are different from what another guy has to overcome. I just think Dannell came back with a great attitude and a real mindset that he was going to be a real pro. He's always worked, hard he's always had a good heart, but he's been a real pro. And, I think it's shown up in the way he's played."

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