DAILY INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
On meeting with RB Ricky Williams:"We had lunch with him for a minute and then had him in the office for awhile. I'm just very impressed with how he thinks and excited to have him here."
On whether he is trying to go back to the days of the "three-headed monster":"That may be a possibility. (laughter) We've got some good backs, and adding Ricky into the mix makes us a better team, no doubt about it. We started talking about it a day or two ago and had a chance to put some tape on it yesterday. To me, he looks as good as ever – and I'm talking about last year. He ran the ball well, he's very good in pass protection, [and] he understands pass protection. That's really important for us right now, so it's a big addition for us."
On if Williams' primary role will be catching balls:"Right, I think so. I think it can be. Obviously, Ray [Rice] is very good at that, too, but Ray can't do everything. Right now Ray is probably our best back in every area. Maybe it's because Ricky gives Ray some competition in some areas and they get to share the load a little bit, but I wouldn't rule out the young guys. Jalen Parmele has been practicing really well, and the rookies have been practicing really well."
On whether Williams will play Thursday night at Philadelphia:"I'm going to encourage him not to play on Thursday night. I think that one practice out here is not enough to get ready and to keep him safe. So, I think he kind of wants to play, but we'll probably hold him back."
On what a running back like Williams can do for the offense:"Well, he's a downhill back. All the schemes we've run, he's run. He's a downhill, hard-running guy. He's got some illusiveness, but he is not afraid to lower his pads and run behind his pads."
On what kind of input offensive coordinator Cam Cameron had on the decision to pursue Williams:"Cam had him for a year, and I think Cam felt very strongly about him – very positively – not just what he could do for our team, but the kind of guy he was. So that was big."
On whether the starters will see a lot of playing time on Thursday:"Yeah, but I think to start… We have different levels of starters. So yes, the guys like Ray [Lewis] and Ed [Reed] and Haloti [Ngata] and Terrell [Suggs], those guys realistically won't play much. One series maybe, we'll just have to see. And some of that you leave in their hands, but we're going to be very judicious with those guys. The younger guys, the guys who need more time in the passing game, I think we'll give more time to those guys."
On whether he feels this is the biggest preseason game he has ever been in, which is what Cameron stated:"The biggest one? I can see what he's saying. I don't know. It's hard to say a preseason game is big big. It's big for a lot of guys. Is it going to be big for the team? Well, it's big in the sense of, 'Where are we?' I think that's going to be very important for us… It's going to be very interesting to see where we're at. The practice on Saturday, it's funny, we were practicing real well before Saturday – at least offensively. And you would expect the defense to be ahead of the offense, and all of the sudden, we kind of took a step back on Saturday because it was a different environment. Keep in mind, we practiced very well on Monday and Tuesday on offense, but we'll probably take another step backwards on Thursday just a little bit. We don't have that many reps behind us, so that's probably what he's talking about. And I can see that."
On the test that playing the Eagles will bring:"It's a great test. I guess you can say test. It's going to be interesting to see how we stack up. It's a very talented team. I don't think… It's not going to take them long; they've got a lot of guys back. Their whole team isn't new; they're just plugging some guys in. So, obviously, they're one of the best teams in the NFC. Tremendous quarterback, tremendous two quarterbacks really, and I think [Mike] Kafka's got talent, too. So, it'll be good for our defense to see those good quarterbacks and running backs. I'm not sure if Nnamdi [Asomugha] will play, but I hope those guys play a lot. It'll be good for us."
On what it's going to be like to coach in Philadelphia again:"It's going to be interesting. I don't know if I know where the visiting locker room is. It'll be my first time in the visiting locker room. I fully expect to be cheered rabidly when I walk out onto the field. (laughter) I'll be highly disappointed if that doesn't happen." (laughter)
On what his top priority will be going into the first preseason game:"Well, I think to get better, one thing is to see where we're at. That'll be very interesting to see. But, I'm looking forward to seeing us execute. I want to see us take technique and communication and alignment and assignment and take those things to the field. It's so easy to leave those things behind sometimes because you're so excited to play the game. Let's go play the game and take all those fundamentals with us. If we can do that, then I think we'll be in good shape."
On what he is looking forward to seeing out of rookie QB Tyrod Taylor:"Well, the same thing. All the things we just talked about – playing a good fundamental game as a quarterback and then also his skills. Let's see what his skills look like and how he handles the… The guy has played a lot of football games. I don't think it's going to be in any way overwhelming for him to play a football game. He's a four-year starter at big-time college football. But, it'll be interesting to see how he applies the trade at this level."
On whether RB Ricky Williams was brought in to complement RB Ray Rice: "I think it makes for a great story to look at it that way – and I can see the thinking behind that – but the only problem is, Ray's a really good tackle runner. He's always been. That probably was his forte coming out. The fact that he has expanded his game to be more of a perimeter game is really a tribute to him. So, we've got two backs that really do everything well. So, that complements us pretty well."
On how they have adjusted to the new practice schedule:"We've had practice and it's gone OK. Actually, I've said this before: I kind of like it. In some ways, it's better and I'm kind of mad I didn't think of it before. But, we shortened the practice up a little bit today, not just because of the lightning but also we just think it's time. Our guys have worked probably harder than ever. They put in a good camp, and it's a good format."
On LB Brendon Ayanbadejo's 2011 camp performance and his recovery from a 2009 injury: "He and a couple other guys have [rehabbed and played well]. Put Ed [Reed] in that category, too. The guys that haven't had to rehab look really good. Brendon is playing well on defense. We know what he does on special teams, and he has to keep that going. But the guy is playing really well in our sub packages on defense."
On having DT Brandon McKinney back:"Really important – he and Terrence [Cody]. He's a rotation guy – a very experienced guy. You can't really have enough… We always say that about every position, don't we? 'You can't have enough of those guys.' You can't. You can't have enough D-linemen. People are going to try to run the ball on us, and he helps us."
On rookie CB Jimmy Smith and if he will play on Thursday:"No. I think we keep him out on Thursday. He's only had one practice. Anyone who has only had one practice will probably… Those tight ends, they've got in there. They've looked good for two days. We'll probably put those guys in there and see what they do."
On T Michael Oher and if he is starting to look more comfortable at left tackle:"We've only had a week-and-a-half of practice, so it's hard to make that evaluation. But, I would say yes, he does look very comfortable. Then again, Thursday night is a whole different challenge, but he's got Trent Cole out there. It's going to be interesting to see him up against Trent out there."
RB Ricky Williams
On what he thinks of his new No. 38:"I have already talked to Jalen [Parmele], and we cut a deal. Yeah, it's undisclosed. I didn't need Drew [Rosenhaus'] help [getting 34]. It is a two-year contract. The terms are undisclosed." (laughing)
On why he chose to sign with the Ravens instead of other teams:"It was a tough decision. The opportunity in Detroit opened up, and it would have been a chance for me to play a lot and to be able to contribute a lot. They are a young and upcoming team, and that is always exciting to be a part of an organization turning around. I thought about Baltimore, and it is an established organization with a lot of [veterans]. Playing against them almost every year for the past six or seven years, you don't like playing against them because of the way they play, and I thought I would fit in well in this situation and be able to enjoy myself and possibly win a Super Bowl."
On how much he has left in him and if he can be a 20-carry per-game running back if need be:"I think I am a confident guy, so I have to say yes. I feel good. [That's] how I feel now, and I do a good job taking care of my body. And if I keep doing that, chances are I will stay healthy and I will be able to do whatever is asked of me."
On what kind of workouts he did during the offseason:"For most of the offseason, I just relaxed. In the past couple of months, I started to train a little bit and work myself back into shape. The way it worked out, it was perfect. I think I had time to really build a solid physical foundation to get ready to get in football shape."
On if his trip to Peru this offseason was a vacation:"I did a little bit of traveling this offseason. I had time, so I took advantage of it."
On his activities besides football:"What I think is… I think football is how I put food on the table. It's my passion and it is what I love to do. But, I think it is important to keep things in perspective. Traveling and seeing the road has helped me, kind of, keep balance in my life. It makes coming back to football that much more fun because I have that balance."
On if putting food on the table is his motivation for playing football:"I think as animals, as mammals, the instinct for us is to provide for our loved ones and our families. I think that is an instinct, and when we can do something that we love for a job, it is just icing on the cake."
On what offensive coordinator Cam Cameron means to him and how much a role Cameron played in bringing him to Baltimore: "My first introduction to Cam was at the Dolphins, and we didn't get off on the right foot. But, we spent at least an hour in his office talking, and I look back to that conversation we had and I think without that conversation I wouldn't be here. I think we had the opportunity to get to know each other, and I really love what he does with the offense. Just watching him out here in practice and how hands-on he is and how important the details are... For me, I love having that accountability on offense, and I think it is going to make me a better player and it's going to make our offense really good."
On what he thinks his role will be on the team:"Whatever they ask me to do. Hopefully, we have leads in games in the fourth quarter, and it's a lot of carries. So hopefully, I will get some of those. However I can contribute is what I am looking forward to."
On QB Joe Flacco: "I have played against him before, and he has killed us every time. But, just out here today watching him, I love the way he works. He just seems comfortable and smooth and he seems like a really good leader."
On RB Ray Rice:"I haven't watched Ray a lot, but just being around him, he makes plays. It is obvious. I like watching him run. He is explosive and he likes to play football."
On if playing in Thursday's game at Philadelphia is too soon for him to play:"That's what I thought, but I was out here practicing today and I was up meeting with coach today and he said, 'Well, we're not going to play you Thursday.' And then he looked at me and said, 'Unless you really, really want to play.' I don't think I am unless I wake up feeling like Superman."
On RB Jalen Parmele wearing jersey No. 34: "We have already cut a deal. Yeah."
On if this will be the final stop of his NFL career:"It is a two-year contract, and I will be 36 [years old] when my contract is up, and I think I will be ready for something else at that point."
On how many carries per game he expects:"I don't know. You never know. Some games, the defense is taking the run away and we have to pass. Other games, we are going to have to pound the ball to win the game, so it just depends. My guess, it will vary anywhere between eight and 12 or 15 – something like that."
On what he learned in his time away from football:"When I think back on those times… From the outside looking in, yeah I was suspended and I was in a lot of trouble. Internally, I was able to travel, to see the world and to work on myself. All told, I am very happy with where I am today. It's hard for me to look back and say I have many regrets."
On if he likes football as much as he did before taking time away from the game:"It's different. I think I respect the game more and I appreciate the game more than I did, but I am not 20 years old anymore. So, my priorities are a little bit different. I appreciate the game and I love to compete. I use my mind more than I use my body, but still, the body is strong and I enjoy playing this game."
On if he has a lot of football left in him:"Yeah, I don't feel 34 [years old]. I don't even know what 34 means."
On if he balances finesse and power running at his age:"I think I am at a point where – whatever it takes – I try to pull deep into my reservoir and bring that to the table."
On what it is like to be on the same team as LB Ray Lewis:"We haven't talked about that, but people asked me the hardest I have been hit, and it was by Ray [Lewis]. I think it was back in '02. It was a small play. It was like an extra point, and I ran a swing route and the quarterback threw it late. I caught it pretty much out of bounds and as soon as turned around, I got hit. I didn't know where I was for about 30 seconds."
On why he has gone to the clean-cut look:"It is just a mirror of my maturity. I think we all go through phases and I think, at my heart, I am a rebel. I think I have found more productive and mature ways to express my rebellion."