DAILY INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS
TE Ed Dickson
On if he is happy to be back:"Happy to be back, man. The smell of the grass, seeing all the players from last year… It's time to get back to work."
On how he got mentally ready for the lockout to end:"It never stopped. I knew that we were going to get back to work soon, so I kept practicing. I kept preparing myself for when we had to come back to camp, when I had to get back to the meetings, and I didn't enjoy my time off. I have a little son that is growing up every day, and it was good to have a little father-son time and being with my girl."
On what he did during the lockout and where he was:"I was mainly in Eugene, Oregon and then Beaverton. I was basically just trying to improve my game. [I was] trying to step my game up in a blocking aspect, a catching aspect – every little part of my game."
On if he worked out with teammates or by himself:"I used the resources that I have with being a college graduate from the University of Oregon. They let me go there and use their facilities for free, so I didn't have to pay for anything. I had a couple of quarterbacks, a couple of rival quarterbacks over there. Dennis Dixon from the Steelers was throwing to me a little bit."
On how ready he is to potentially be the starting tight end:"I would like to first say that Todd Heap is a great individual teacher, a great teammate, and he will be missed if he is not here with us. With that said, hopefully he is back with us. He taught me a lot just in that one year. He taught me how to be an overall player in this game. He has been doing it great for years. The records speak for themselves on the board. That's all I can do is be the best player I can be. If I am in that starting spot, I am just going to go out, every day in training camp, and train to be that starter, like I did last year."
On if Todd Heap was a mentor to him:"Yes, he was over and above that. He was probably like one of the best players in the League at being a mentor. He's a leader, by far."
On how it feels to have a vote of confidence from the Ravens:"It means a lot to me that they have that much faith in me. I've been here one year. Like I said, all I can do is just improve myself and come out to training camp and just play my game and just try to get better every day in camp and work to get that starting position. They didn't sign anything over to me; I've still got competition, and I love competition."
On his reaction to the release of TE Todd Heap:"My first reaction was I'm missing a brother, if he's gone. I'm going to be missing a brother, because he's been nothing but genuine and nice to me and a great teammate. So if it happens where he's leaving… Because I understand the business attitude of the game, and those guys upstairs have a job to do, just like the guys on the field. So, if he's not back with us, it's going to be tough. And myself and Dennis Pitta have to pick up the slack. We're going to go."
On the different mentality from last year when now faced with being a starter:"I think they'll be a lot different. I used to call [Heap] Superman… I knew had Superman coming back some game. If he's not with us this year, I'll probably still call him and ask him a couple things and basically just go with our game plan and do it to the best of my ability."
On being more comfortable as a starter:"I've got a year under my belt, so I'll definitely be more comfortable in our playbook and with all our plays, so I'll definitely be more comfortable."
On his current shape:"Being away from football, you're never in football shape unless you're doing those offseason workouts. But I push myself as hard as I can in the offseason – running hills and pushing sleds and stuff like that so I can be prepared for the stuff I'm going to see in training camp. But you're never going to be prepared unless you're in that structured environment."
QB Joe Flacco
On his wedding during the offseason:"Yeah, can you believe that? (laughter) It was a lot of fun. It was a really good day."
On if it was the best day of his life:"I guess so. I better say yes. (laughter) I don't know, it was a lot fun. It was one of the best days. I don't know if there is a best day, but it was a lot of fun, all the family together. It was a good time."
On if he knew his wedding photos went viral:"Yeah, it's crazy. The only thing I heard about it was, 'How did Joe get his wife to play center?' If you guys think I had anything to do with those pictures, you are crazy. *(laughter) *I honestly came up with none of the ideas, none of the poses. They were just all thought about by her [Dana] and all my crazy brothers."
On if the photographer was supposed to put the pictures on the Internet:"Yeah. He sent a couple pictures over to us and said, 'Is it OK if I put them on my website?' He, obviously, got a ton of pictures that we haven't even seen yet, and they won't all go out there, so he just wanted to put a couple pictures on his website, and we allowed him to do that. I didn't know whether they would get everywhere else."
On his reaction to the potential release of WR Derrick Mason and TE Todd Heap and if he wants them back with the team: "Yeah, big time. They have been big parts of our offense for the last three years. Todd [Heap] really came on last year and was able to be healthy up until the end there and then be healthy again during the playoffs and just had a huge output for us. So, definitely shocked to hear about it. Those guys are both friends of mine and both good targets of mine on the field, so I feel for them and I hope we can do everything we can to get those guys back. Obviously, they are probably in a little bit different situations. Derrick [Mason], as opposed to Todd, Derrick is a little bit later in his career. I would like to think Todd has four of five years left on him. We will see what happens in terms of other teams with those guys. On a personal level, I just want to… You want wish those guys the best and hope that everything turns out the best that it can for those guys. You are selfish sometimes, too, and you look at it as a team and value for our team. They're guys that are great to have on our team, and I wouldn't want to do anything without those guys, because they have been so much a part of this organization and this team and what we have been about the last couple of year."
On if he thought there would be major changes coming back after the lockout:"I had no idea anything like that was going to happen. I really didn't. You expect to come back and see some new faces, just like every year, but I definitely was not expecting to get rid of Derrick and Todd. It happens in this league, so you have to learn to not be surprised by those things. But yeah, I was not even really thinking about that. I was just thinking about getting back to playing football and getting back to normal life for us."
On what he is going to think when he doesn't see Mason or Heap on the practice field:"I'm sure it will be a little bit different, but at the end of the day, you get out there and you start practice up, and you are going out that and you're trying to be successful and get the young guys up to speed. I'm sure we will go out there and pretty quickly we will have our focus and go about our business the right way. But, I'm sure at first, there will be an initial shock about those guys not being out there."
On if he will take on more of a leadership role:"We are all going to lead in our different ways. The big thing with us now is that two veterans are going to be out of the locker room. We're going to have a lot more younger guys. This is going to be our fourth year, me and Ray [Rice], and it's just time to kind of groom those guys and mold those guys the way we want them, the way I want them. We will have that chance. I will be able to be out there on the practice field with these young receivers, and I will have a chance to live everything with them, go through every step of it with them when they are learning, when they are going through their tough times, when they are going through their good times. I will be right there with them, and that should be a good experience for me, Ray and all those guys."
On the absence of Mason and Heap and the impact on the offense:"I hope we can go out there and we can operate no matter what. If those guys aren't there, it is because we are confident with the guys that we have and we're confident in those guys taking that next step and really being able to take on a 16-game NFL schedule and be on. That's what I would say. If they are not there, we know we have a great group of guys. If they are there, we are only going to benefit from that."
On the signing to keep G/T Marshal Yanda with the team:"Yeah, it's always good to have your guys stay right here with you. We all love this place and we all want to win football games. Having one of your own guys that has done such a good job and battled so hard for you the last few years, it is always great to have a guy like that back on your team."
On talking to TE Ed Dickson about potentially starting:"No I haven't. I've kind of come in here and ran through my physical, took my conditioning test and sat down with the quarterbacks, and I've been meeting a little bit with them. But, I'll see if I get the chance to see some of those guys over dinner."
On how he stayed in shape over the offseason:"We got together a couple times, but other than that, I was working out with a couple guys back at home, throwing the ball every night for the past month-and-a-half, two months, and hey, I'm in the best shape that I've been in a while. I'm just ready to get back and get back on the field."
On working out with rookie WR Torrey Smith:"Torrey is a guy that can run and he seems to track the ball pretty good. We'll need to work on his comebacks and some things like that, but right now he can run. He's big, he's explosive, he's got long arms, he catches the ball, he's got a big upside and we can't wait to get out there and see that in real action versus our defense in practice once he's got some pressure on him. It should be exciting; it should be exciting to see him and it should be exciting to see a lot of our guys get out there. And you know, they've got to be itching to play some football."
On media criticism he received in the offseason:"There's some that you don't pay attention to and there's some that you do. I don't quite understand it. We've had a good team the last three years, and I think I've gotten better each year and we've played pretty darn good. So, I don't understand it. But there's nothing you can do about it. People are going to say what they're going to say. We just have to go out there and win football games – continue to win football games, really, because we've won football games every year that we've been here. The bottom line is you've got to win the big game – that's the Super Bowl. The world we live in today, there's usually one good quarterback at the end of the year and 31 other not good ones. (laughter) That's just the way it is. That's not reality; it's just the way it is. My goal is to be that one good one at the end of the year, and my goal as a team is for us to be that one good team at the end of the year."
On condensing training camp:"The offseason and all that stuff, it's a huge time for the rookies to get their heads in their playbooks and really start to understand what it's going to be about to learn an NFL offense and be around the team and get to know some of the guys. So, those guys are going to miss out on some of that. They're going to have to catch up kind of quickly, and we'll have to make our decisions quickly on whether they're going to be able to help us or not. But other than that, you know we've got an experienced group of guys – guys that know how to take care of themselves, come back and condition. So I'm not really too worried about that. It's not like we don't know the offense. That's what the rookies have to do, so if we can get those guys up to speed, I think we'll be in good shape."
On the business of football and if it affects his game:"It doesn't affect. Anytime you're doing something for a living and there's money involved, there's going to be a business side to it. You're somewhat aware of that. But the bottom line is that when you're out on the practice field or you're out there on Sunday, it doesn't affect the way that you feel about the game of football and the way that you approach it. You still approach it… It's a lot of fun to go out there on Sundays. It's a lot of fun to go run around on grass fields every day for a living. There are times where you sit back, and you think to yourself, and you realize that, 'Man, this is a business,' but that doesn't really affect the way you go about practice or go about games. When that starts happening, that's when you start thinking about retiring."
On if he feels like he'll have more input with the offense:"I don't know… We'll see. We have to go through a season and we have to put in game plans and see what we're going to do. I just want to go out there and win football games. I want the ball to be put in my hands. I want everyone to be accountable. I want everyone to go out there… Like I said, I want to be in control. I want to be in a position to lose football games. I've always said that. I want to be put in a position to lose football games; I want it to be on me. If we lose football games, I want you to be able to look directly at me and say, 'Why did we lose this game?' and I should have a pretty good answer for you. And I want you to be able to look at me and say, 'Why did we win this game?' and I should have a pretty good answer for you. In order to do that, you have to have trust in me, and I think we're there. We just have to go out there and put it all forward and do what we need to do to get to that next step – to get past the hump and really win these really big football games."
On what motivates him:"What motivates me is being the best quarterback in the world. I don't play this game to be average. I play this game to be the best, and it doesn't matter what other people say. I think I'm pretty damn good, and I don't need to go out and tell everybody that and show it on every given day on every play every Sunday and do all of that stuff. I go out there and I play. You can think what you want about me. The bottom line is I'm still going to think the way I think about myself and I'm going to feel pretty good about myself no matter what you say. I would like some more people than myself to think good about me. (laughter) But if they never do, they never do. As long as this organization, my teammates and myself can feel pretty good about how I'm going out there and playing and about how we're going out there and playing on any given week, I think I'll be pretty happy."