Training Camp Transcript - Practice 8/4


Head Coach John Harbaugh

On the uncertainty of today and if he was upset by it:"No. As I told the guys, I was the calmest guy in the whole building. They laughed when they heard that. We kind of joked about 'adapt, adjust and overcome,' and it really was one of those days. We are creatures of habit. We like to know what our schedule is, and all of the sudden, we didn't have that. We had to come out and have a great practice, and we did that. I would like to welcome Bernard [Pollard] here. Wow. This guy comes out, and he has two huge hits in the backfield on pass rushes and kind of establishes himself. And, Vonta [Leach] got after it and had some big collisions out there. It's good to see the new guys kind of in the mix, plus all of the guys that hadn't been able to practice for the last week or so. They were breathing a little bit hard. The football is different than the conditioning, so I think they are going to have to adjust to football now. But, it's good to have everybody back."

On the addition of S Bernard Pollard:"I think he talked about it real well himself. He is a big, physical player. He is a hard-nosed guy. I think he does have a lot to prove. He has a lot of pride. I think he is proud to be a part of this team now, and I think he thinks it fits his personality. Of course, we agree – that's why he is here. I am really looking forward to seeing how he does."

On if the urgency of today's practice was stepped up as it went on:"No, I thought the practice was urgent the whole way. The practice builds that way, as you know it. It kind of goes from individual to group to some situational drills into the more team stuff, so it kind of built the way it was supposed to."

On if the tempo of today's practice was better than yesterday:"Well, I think it was cooler for one thing. That helped a little bit, and we had more players out here, so we were able to kind of keep the pace a little more. Yeah, that's probably fair and probably would be expected."

On if the team is still in touch with free agent WR Derrick Mason:"Derrick and I texted back and forth the last couple of days. We didn't actually talk about that. I didn't ask, and he didn't volunteer, so that is all part of the operation. I know [general manager and executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] is working on that right now. I won't say specifically that he is working on those things, and you just have to see how it goes."

On DT Arthur Jones:"He is doing very well. Arthur Jones is doing really well. I think he has just grown and matured. He is a little bit leaner. He is a little bit quicker. He is just making more plays, but his technique… He is a better technician. He is a year older. He is doing a nice job."

On how it felt to have multiple offensive lines in today's practice:"Actually, we had to pull the lines out, as you know, and go with [skeleton, 7-on-7s] for a lot of our team periods the last few days. We were able to bring a line in for every period. That was nice. We appreciate that, and we're still down four guys. It will be good to get the rest of the guys back as well."

On if he was miffed at the beginning of practice because the team was late to start practice: "I didn't notice that. Were you guys out here at that point? (laughter) There were a couple of guys that took a little longer to get dressed than I would have expected, but they know me and I know them. We get each other."

On how special an experience Saturday's practice at M&T Bank Stadium will be for the rookies:"I think it will be a little bit jittery for them. They will be in that stadium for the first time. To walk into the locker, to walk down the tunnel and to walk onto the field with fans in the stands – it is going to be a moment in their life. It is going to be something, I think, they will remember for the rest of their life, even if it is just a practice. It will be special for them."

On if it means more to see the rookies at M&T Bank Stadium or if it is just another practice:"I'd like to say it is another practice, but it's neat because you just sit there and you watch guys kind of fulfilling their dream. It's pretty cool. That's like why you coach. That's part of the reason that you do this and try to let them know, 'You know what guys? You can do this. This is something you can do.'"

On thinking about the looming cuts that will need to be made:"That's the hardest part of it. You think about it every day. You are just kind of weighing guys against other guys and seeing how they play and how they fit. It's always on your mind."

On how long meetings will go tonight:"We're just going to go special teams tonight. They have to install for tomorrow's practice, and then we will let the other guys go after dinner. The special teams guys will [have] dinner, and they will meet for an hour, and then we will come back tomorrow morning at 8 o'clock."

On T Oniel Cousins and the competition between he and rookie T Jah Reid:"It would be unfair for me to just probably put a grade on it right now without watching the tape, but I thought he held up fine for the first day out there. Jah [Reid] is a little bit tired right now, and he should be. Gosh, he went every rep for three straight days. He took every rep. He said, 'Coach, I want to take every rep.' We know he can go long, now we just need to see if he can go well. I think it is going to be a good battle. Oniel [Cousins] would have the edge, obviously, with his experience, so we'll see."

On what rookie WR Tandon Doss offers:"Tandon [Doss] has really showed up well. I would say that for all those guys. They have all done a good job, but the guy [Doss] catches the ball. You throw it to him, he catches it. He runs good routes. He is really big. He is long and he gets up the field fast after he catches it. The thing I think about Tandon is, [he] has been very consistent throughout camp, and that is pretty important. He hasn't been up and down at all, and he has stayed healthy."

On how he feels about rookie WR Torrey Smith being the second or third wide receiver:"Comfortable is probably not a good word for any player. You are never comfortable. I think I would be confident in him. I think he has a chance to be a real good player this year. We'll just have to see how it goes."

S Bernard Pollard

On how his first practice went:"Flying around, you know, flying around trying to learn this thing. I'm eager to learn the system. I got a few [play] calls down, and I think the biggest thing is just playing fast – playing fast, practicing fast with these guys. You kind of see the direction that they're going; they want guys that are going to run around and hit you, they want guys that are going to get that ball, they want guys that are going to get after that quarterback, and I fall right into that."

On how and when this deal came together:"We've kind of been talking the last week or so, or last few days. And the biggest thing is just me knowing the type of player I am and the team that would allow me to be that player and not hold back. You look at the players here [and] you have a great cast of players. You've got future Hall of Famers, and it's exciting to be able to… The biggest thing is I was trying to learn so much from Ed [Reed]. He understands the game, he knows the game – and not to say that I don't understand and know some things – but I think that's just two different stages, and I'm just trying to soak everything up from him. And just like I said, I want to help this team win."

On whether today was a whirlwind:"Well, caught the red-eye at 10:40 [last night] and didn't get here until 6:50 [or] 7 o'clock this morning. You know, I'm ready to play. I don't care what I have to do; I try to prove something to myself every year. And I want to suit up, and I want to help this team win. I really do. The organization is tremendous. Obviously, we're blessed to have talent, and I'm excited, because I know the history here. I know the rivalries that they have, and I want to be a part of that, I really do."

On whether it was tough to wait an extra three hours for his first practice today:"Football is football, regardless of what time you play. Once you line up, regardless of what time we had to do it, it does not matter. Football is football. So, we lined up… And it's kind of funny to see coach [John Harbaugh] out there interacting and kind of talking and kind of setting things together. It's kind of the same thing Herm [Edwards] did. You kind of see the similarities there. But, it's just neat to see the coaching staff involved and wanting to get after you. And the offensive coordinator doing this, and the defensive coordinator saying, 'No, no no,' and he's calling plays against that… That's exciting for me to see. I've never seen that before, and that pumps me up. And like I said, I want to do whatever I can to help this team win."

On whether he feels like his personality meshes well with this group of Ravens:"You know what? The type of player that I am, I'm a hard-nosed player, and I believe with any player in the NFL, [if] you put him in the right position, they're going to make things happen. And every player is put in the right position [here], whether it's offensively or defensively or special teams. I think the coaching staff here does a great job with that, and I'm excited, because to come in… The first five years, in Kansas City, [I] played a few systems, but it just wasn't me. In Houston, that first year they played me that way, and I was able to make things happen, and we just had some things go wrong last year. And I'm looking to bounce back, I really am. I'm looking to bounce back, and I'm looking to be used, whether it's blitzing, whether it's covering, I'm ready to shut people up, because me as a player, I get tired of hearing so many people say things. You try to block it out, but I'm on a mission."

On whether the Ravens talked to him about the game he played against them in Houston last season:"No. No, that was last year, and this year it's the same goal: It's get to the Super Bowl. And I really believe that they have every piece, that they really do. This team has every piece."

On whether having really good games against the Ravens in the past was an inspirational-type of thing:"No, it's just football. I think when we played Baltimore when I was with Houston last year, they played me a certain way. And the thing about the last couple of years is it was spotty the way they would play me. And I think coming to this team, they don't care who you're playing. I think from the head coach to every coach that's on the coaching staff, they're going to say, 'I promise you, I'm going to sit on the sidelines and watch my guys knock you in the mouth.' And I think that's one of the biggest things that excites me, because like I said, I bring that to the game. I'm going to hit you. I will do whatever I have to do to get that ball, and it's 10 other guys that are thinking the same way I am."

On his thoughts about the competition he'll be involved in with against S Tom Zbikowski and S Haruki Nakamura:"They're very good players. And, competition is very healthy. I don't know too much about the guys or whatever, but I got a chance to talk to 'Zibby.' Obviously, I played against him [at] Purdue, so I've seen him a few times – very good player, very good player. I'm excited, because like I said, I don't want anything handed to me, and I know he's the same way. And nobody on this team wants anything handed to him. I'm the type of dude where I'm going to hit you in the mouth and I'm going to take it from you. You don't want to respect me; I'm going to take it from you. And I think every guy on this team is that way, and 'Zibby' is the exact same way. So, it's going to be fun."

S Ed Reed

On how it felt to be back on the field after the lockout:"It felt all right, man. It's just football. Football is back, so it's training camp – back to the old regular schedule."

On why he did not work out at practice today:"I'm 32, man. I've been in this 10 years. Stop trying to be in my business. (laughter) I'm 32; I've been doing this for 10 years. Preserving this is the key."

On whether he had night practices in Miami:"No, in Miami we didn't do night practices. We were in 80-degree weather, 90-degree weather, going at it all the time."

On why he is wearing the No. 3 jersey during practice:"That's the smallest jersey they had. I usually wear the No. 5, and that probably would have been a big deal because of top 5 and all that stuff, but that's the smallest jersey. I just like to be comfortable at practice. Coach [John Harbaugh] came in with, 'You have to wear game jerseys at practice,' and I just like to be comfortable."

On S Bernard Pollard:"Right now it's his first day, so it's going to be interesting once he learns it and we get the season going and we see how quick he gets the scheme down and how coaches want to fit him in."

On whether Pollard will fit in with the team:"We will see. You never know until a guy gets on the field. The AFC North is different football."

On how he views the preseason:"I mean, I haven't played in preseason in the past couple years, so preseason for me isn't anything. It comes in September. I don't feel like I have to prove anything; I'm not trying to be an individual. Preseason is preseason. It doesn't mean anything, so as long as I'm ready come September, which I will be and I am, I don't feel there's anything I have to prove. I just had hip surgery and, like I said, preserving yourself is the key. Of course, guys have to get reps. Right now, we have more than enough guys on the team, so being with the lockout, two guys have got to get reps in. We've got organizational stuff to talk about, too, but I don't feel like I have to prove anything come preseason."

On why he looks so "unbelievable": "I've been working out with my doctor in Atlanta, with Vitality Health Care, and we do a great job with making sure we're working out. With the experience from my doc and longevity… It's a great thing that we talk about. That's the key, man – preserving yourself and understanding that energy process with how you're working out. That's a big key."

On the status of his hip and what he did during the offseason to keep himself healthy:"Me and my doc, we work good together. We do a lot of things with understanding the future, just in health in general. I still do a lot of rehab. This is a lifelong thing now, anytime you have surgery, especially on your hip you have to take care of your body. We all know football is a violent sport, a physical sport. Sixteen games is a long time. It's definitely a grind, and this is a grind. If I'm not smart about taking care of myself during training camp, then who is? So, it's also a business. That's part of being a good business man – taking care of myself and understanding that this is my company. And I run my company, so I hope that the organization and coaches understand that physical-wise. And missing the six games last year… Not to dwell in the past, but I hit the game in stride and I hope to do that this year with a lot more games in front of me."

On if he thinks this will be his best season yet:"No, man, I come into the year as a rookie always – studying always, studying tape, taking notes and preparing myself for the blessings that God has for me. I plan to nurture my talents in the offseason and work out hard training, with my Dr. Gibson in Georgia, and try and make best of the opportunity when it comes to me."

On if he feels healthier in this offseason than he has in the past couple of years:"I still have things I'm dealing with – the injuries that I'm dealing with, that I continue to rehab and I do. I mean, it's not too much of a difference, just being smarter about what I do and how I take care of myself and understanding what my doctor wanted from me [and] how he wanted me to work out to get the maximum amount of strength and power out of myself. That definitely helped. I might be a bit stronger, a bit bigger, but time will tell, because everything we do out here on the field during training camp, it makes a difference. It makes a difference going into the season, and how you take care of yourself off the field, it all plays a part, and it all is just a part of being a professional."

On how it feels to have Chuck Pagano as defensive coordinator:"Chuck has been my coordinator. I've known Chuck since I was at Miami, and he's just taught me so much about the game. He understands so much about the game. All the coaches around us are coordinators in some way. There's a reason they get the jobs that they get because they all understand the game and they all work together. Chuck is a family guy, a father figure to me for a long time, and I've been looking up to him. So to have him in that position is well deserved on him and his family's part. I mean, it's going to be fun. Like I said, he definitely understands the game."

On if he is still considering retirement:"It's still on my shoulder; it's a process. There's so much that we go through as players, and if you can't understand that as a fan – which I know a lot of fans didn't because I got the letters, I got the talk, and there's always going to be critics – but it's a process. There's a lot we deal with as players that they will never understand. There's a lot we go through, even you guys will never understand. But you have to think about your family. You've got to think about your future. This is a violent game. The NFL is doing some things to protect it, but it's hard to protect the game when it's been a certain way for so long. It's up to your guys to be smart and police themselves and try not, well not try not to take those shots, but being fair and being smart about when you're tackling."

On Deion Sanders being inducted into the Hall of Fame:"Oh man, I should have brought that up the first time I came up here. Congratulations to all the Hall of Famers. Marshall Faulk… I know he's from Louisiana and went to San Diego State. The same coach recruited him who recruited me, Curtis Johnson. I knew Shannon Sharpe; had a lot of opportunities to talk to him through Ray [Lewis]. And Deion, man, growing up in New Orleans, he was in Atlanta and I was a San Francisco fan, so I saw him a lot. I mean there's a reason I play the way I play the game – trying to score on special teams, defense, whatever it may be when the ball is in my hands, Primetime is it. Every kid wanted to be Primetime, a lock-down defender, so to say. And I'm a Braves fan, so I had the opportunity to watch Deion and emulate him through a lot. I was a Michael Jordan fan, too. Being able to watch Michael Jordan and then Primetime on the football field, those were the two guys you wanted to be like. And when he came to Baltimore, I was like that little kid all over again. It sparked something in me that year [2004]. There's a reason I won Defensive Player of the Year with Prime around, because you wanted to impress him and show that, look, you basically raised me to do the things I did. So for Prime to be in the Hall of Fame on that first ballot, it's more than deserved. He showed guys how to play this game and how to be a defender. There won't be another Prime, probably, who shut down both sides of the field, play receiver, score touchdowns from anywhere on the field like he did. He was the ultimate athlete. That's what I was; I was recruited as an athlete to Miami. I played every sport just like him. I was an athlete, so I know those guys are just athletes playing different positions don't really have a home like an Anquan Boldin, the guys who went to Florida State. I grew up a State fan, but to know Deion personally, now it's overwhelming. It's beautiful. I look up to Prime."

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