RAVENS THIRD ORGANIZED TEAM ACTIVITY (6/6)
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"Good to see you guys, appreciate you all being here. It was a good day, a good, hot day for us, and it was good for us to work in the heat like that. We had a great day yesterday at the Boys & Girls Club in, I believe, northwest Baltimore. We met some amazing people. The teachers were fun. Personally, I didn't have to build anything. I put a sign up. I got one piece of tape on it, because I didn't have my fingernails! I clipped my fingernails; I couldn't get it off. It was a little embarrassing. Finally got it, though. But, the first-graders were great. They were so much fun. We were laughing and wrestling around and having a good time, doing some games with the hands and the patty-cake and all that. I hadn't done that since [daughter] Alison was little, so we enjoyed that. There's nothing like that. OK, back to business. _(laughter) What do you have?"
What do you hope to glean from retired college coach Paul Johnson being here, in terms of coaching? (Todd Karpovich) "Football. It's always an opportunity to learn football. We love [football]. We're sometimes teaching, always learning, and we have a chance to learn and ask a lot of questions and to expand what we're doing, get a couple ideas maybe here and there, and a couple of ways to say things here and there and all of that. So that's what we're doing. He's a great football coach, obviously, and had amazing success over the years, both at Navy and Georgia Tech. Very unique offense. His offense was my dad's offense at Western Kentucky, so his favorite play is my dad's favorite play: the mid-line dive option. So, we'll probably be talking about that a little bit this afternoon."
No less an observer than owner Steve Bisciotti has talked about WR Chris Moore as a breakout player. Do you feel like he's ready to seize a bigger opportunity this year? (Childs Walker) "Yes, that's the expectation for Chris, and not just Chris. I don't want to just say one guy. I'm not too big on saying this guy or that guy, because we'll find out. It's up to the person. It's up to the player to make the move and do something about it. But I would say Chris is ready to do that and has been ready to do that. He practices really hard, he works hard in the weight room, he knows the offense very well, and he makes spectacular catches out here very often. He and I have had that conversation: 'Let's go.' I think it's his time, so he has to go do it."
You obviously made a push for DT Gerald McCoy. What would you say to a fan about the current defensive line if they might be upset that you didn't get him? (Aaron Kasinitz) "I don't even know how to answer that complicated question. I know that he was a good player, we went after him, tried to get him, and he didn't want to be here. He wanted to be somewhere else, so I move on and forget about him, until we play him. And I don't think we play Carolina, do we? So, I'm not worried about him. As far as our defensive line, I think it's the same thing I said about the linebackers. I'm not worried one bit about any of our players on defense or offense. I'm not worried at all. We have a great roster. We have a young roster. We have a bunch of guys that are really working hard and flying around, that want to be great, and I just can't wait to see who rises the most to the occasion. I expect us to be great on defense, offense and special teams. That's the standard. That's what we're chasing, and anybody who wants to wring their hands, I say wring away! Wring your hands all you want. I couldn't care less, especially you guys doing the writing. Wring them. Tell everybody how bad we are. That's what I'm rooting for. It helps us."
We saw S DeShon Elliott make kind of a spectacular interception today. I know he had the injury last year, but where is he in his development, and what are you looking to see from him this season? (Luke Jones) "DeShon is doing a nice job. He covers a lot of ground. You saw it on that play. It's a great example of it. He knows where he is, plays really fast, works really hard. He's going to make a mark. He's one of these guys that we're talking about. We have so many guys like that. You bring up Chris [Moore], you bring up DeShon, but there are so many other guys like that, that are just really getting after it, and I'm really excited. I can't wait to see us when we get the pads on, see us when we play against somebody else, and see what it looks like."
You're a chunk of the way through the offseason with a new general manager, Eric DeCosta. I was wondering what it's been like working with a new general manager. (Alex Pyles) "It's been great working with Eric. It hasn't been any different, personality-wise. He's the same guy that he always has been. He's taken to the role very well. He's been prepared for it. He's certainly not intimidated by it, I can tell you that. He's all in. He's very creative. He's very aggressive. He wants to make moves. The [Gerald] McCoy move is a good example of that, to your point. He's going to go for it when he feels like it makes sense, and you appreciate that. But he's learned well from Ozzie [Newsome] in that sense, and Ozzie is still here doing his thing. To me, there's not a better setup in the league than what we have right now, and I'm really excited about it."
One of those guys on the defensive line is DT Willie Henry. He's had the injuries, but what has he done this spring that's kind of made you encouraged? (Aaron Kasinitz) "He's in great shape. He's stronger than he's ever been. His weight and everything is right were we need it to be. He's looked very explosive, very quick, very fast, and he's done well. I would expect him to play well."
Is TE Hayden Hurst OK? We didn't see him out here. (Luke Jones) "He tweaked his hamstring about two weeks ago, and then he kept, not tweaking it, but it was just never … He was pushing it so hard, I finally pulled him out. Let's get this thing ready for minicamp, and we'll be fine."
RB Gus Edwards
On if this offseason feels different than last offseason with his change in status to a veteran and the new offense:"This feels great. I feel like we have a lot of young guys that are returning, so that level of experience is a little better. I feel like we're picking up things fast. We have momentum, but we just have to keep getting better every day."
On what he did to prepare during the offseason:"I was down in Florida. I was working on some agility stuff, speed. I was lifting, trying to shred some weight, just overall, trying to get in better shape."
On how different this offseason was for him after ending the season on a positive personal note:"I went in with the same mindset as I did last year: just trying to get better, trying to make this team. I want to get better, be more a part of the passing game, so I think my mindset is pretty much the same."
On Mark Ingram II:"I think he's a great player. He's had a successful career, a career that I look up to. I feel like he came in … From Day One, he showed great leadership, and it's great having him back there."
On how the offense will use all the running backs when defenses will focus on stopping the run:"I think our identity is kind of running the ball right now, and that's what we want to stick to. We want to run it. But, at the same time, we all want to get better in the passing game and add that to it, and I think we'll be dangerous if we add that aspect."
On his perspective when the Ravens brought in two running backs, RB Mark Ingram II and RB Justice Hill:"I know where I stand here. I know that the coaches are trusting me. Nothing has really changed for me. I'm still getting reps with the 'ones.' It's just somebody that … It's great having a leader, a veteran guy in the backfield, so it's something I can feed off of. I can just learn, take in whatever he teaches me and learn from him."
Closing statement:"I just want to shout-out some of the guys. Shout-out to Coach Matt [Weiss], shout-out to the running backs, Chris [Ezeala], Justice [Hill], De'Lance [Turner]. I feel like we're doing a great job right now. We just have to keep building up for each other. Thank you."
WR/RS Chris Moore
On other people's comments that this could be a big year for him: "I've been out here … This is going to be my fourth year. I've been working. I've always had some vets in front of me, but this year I'm the vet. Shoot, I'm one of the oldest guys in the room. So, it's my opportunity to step up and make the plays and show these guys why I'm here."
On how he assesses his performance last year compared to Baltimore's other receivers: "We had those three older vets ahead of me. Whenever I was called, I was trying to go in and just make plays. You always want more opportunities as a receiver, so that's what I'm going to be more excited about going into this next year, [is] just getting the consistent opportunity to make plays as a receiver, as well as just continuing to do what I do on special teams. So, that's what I'm going to try to keep doing."
On how quickly the offense is learning a new scheme this offseason:"I think everybody in here is picking it up faster than we thought we would. Now, it's just simple things of [the fact that] we're a younger offense, but we just have to keep getting our timing down. It's little things now; it's cleaning it up. I don't think we're so much learning the offense anymore; it's just getting the little details down. We're also going against one of the best defenses every day, so it gets a little chaotic for us sometimes."
On how QB Lamar Jackson has improved this offseason: "He's been throwing it great. A lot of people try to critique him and talk about how he throws, but he's a playmaker and an athlete. He's so hard on himself, too. He wants to be a perfectionist. He's gotten better every single week, and he will only continue to get better. He only played half the season last year; that's what people don't understand. This season, I expect big things from him."
On what he imagines the best version of himself to look like: "Just making plays in every aspect of the game. I don't want to just be a receiver for this team. I don't want to be one of the receivers that starts and doesn't play any special teams. I want to do everything, because I feel like I can make an impact whenever I'm on the field. Whether it be kick return, gunner, blocking punts or making big catches down the field, I want to do it all. I don't want to be just one of those receivers."
On if he's an anti-diva receiver:"I don't want to be one of those receivers that just takes breaks all the time. I want to get the most out of the game. I know I can make plays. I've shown I can make plays on special teams, so why would I take myself out of that position and not help the team anymore?"
On the rookie receivers: "We haven't had our two draft picks really practicing yet, so we haven't gotten to see them yet. But the other guys, they work hard. We have some guys that I think can do big things. I've tried to tell them that I was in the same position. You have to learn how to play special teams here. That's a big thing with the Ravens, especially when you're lower on the depth chart at receiver. So, I think we have a couple guys that can come out here and make some plays on special teams and help themselves make the team."
C Matt Skura
On how his spring has been coming off of a starting season hoping to maintain the starting role:"I think it's been going really well so far. Right now, I'm definitely trying to take more of a leadership role within the offensive line, making sure our group is sound, as far as our communication, knowing where everyone has to go, and I think that's been going really well so far. I think the O-Line has really gelled during this OTA period, and yes, it really is a different feeling this year, and I still have to earn my keep."
On how critical it is to take on more of a leadership role for the O-Line:"I think it's extremely important. It starts with Lamar [Jackson] in the huddle, and then taking the information he gives us, and being able to decipher it in front of a defense, and then communicate it to the offensive line. As long as we're all on the same page, things are going to go well. And so, it starts with me up front, making sure I I.D. the guys correctly, and making sure when we're getting a bunch of different looks – especially blitz period – that we're all on the same page and Lamar knows where we're going, the receivers, running backs, everyone. So, communication is definitely the No. 1 thing."
On if it is different to run an RPO-style offense:"Not really, because with RPOs, once Lamar [Jackson] became the full-time starter, that was kind of part of our bread-and-butter offense last year. So, it's definitely expanding on that this year and working that more into our offense and making sure that is sound and concrete."
On if defenses focusing on stopping the run will make it more of a challenge:"Yes, for sure, and we have to make sure we're a well-balanced offense. We have to make sure we can run the ball really well, and we have to make sure we can pass it, too, so that teams just can't tee off on one part of our game. That's definitely part of what we're doing here right now, just building that foundation of making sure we set the run game – we have that to build on – and we also have a great passing game. We have great wide receivers and quarterbacks to do so."
On if he takes it upon himself to push young defensive tackles to develop:"Right now, we can't really do too much. But, I think for myself, just working on technique [is important]. It's kind of neat to see what other guys' moves are. Sometimes, you get used to going against Brandon [Williams], Willie [Henry], some of these guys for like three, four years now, so you kind of have a feel for them. But then with these new guys, you really don't know. I think it's a lot of fun to go against those young guys who have a lot of energy. Yes, it's fun."
On if, given his leap from Year 3 to Year 4 in college, he can see himself making a similar jump in his fourth season in the NFL:"Definitely. I think last year was huge for me, as far as being back at the center position and being able to play in all the snaps and getting to play in a playoff game. I think that was huge for not only me, but the entire offense, getting that playoff experience. I really do feel a lot more comfortable, as far as the role I'm in now. I think things just go a little bit more slowly, as far as when a defense is bringing some crazy pressure, your mind is not going a million places. You know what you have to do, and you can kind of keep your composure, as far as making sure the communication is good with the offensive line. I think also when we go and play at really loud stadiums and things of that nature, that's going to be a huge advantage, because you've been in those situations before, you know what you need to do to execute, and you can really help the younger guys."
DT Brandon Williams
On how he felt today:"My day was good. Great day at work, great day at practice on the field with the guys. We did a good job."
On if he feels more comfortable with the defense this year:"With this new defense coming in, with the defense from last year, and 'Wink' [defensive coordinator Don Martindale] in his second year, it's a little bit smoother. We're just kind of bringing the younger guys along to make sure they know what to do. For the older guys, we're just sharpening our tools to make sure we're ready for the season."
On no longer riding a golf cart out to practice this season since OLB Terrell Suggs is gone: "Man, I miss those golf cart rides. But who knows, I might be driving it later. We'll see."
On if he feels comfortable driving the golf cart himself: "I'm a little hesitant, but I think I'll be alright. I think it'll be in good hands. I won't crash it or anything."
On OLB Terrell Suggs driving the golf cart last season: "See, he had more years in it than I did. I'm just going to parallel park it real nice-like, and then I'll crash next year."
On the changes made to the defense this offseason:"We have the 'next man up' mentality. Whoever's filling those spots, we believe in them whole-heartedly. But when I first heard [OLB Terrell Suggs, LB C.J. Mosley and S Eric Weddle left] over the offseason, it was a shock. Seeing Suggs gone, a lifer here … Seeing Weddle gone, a great brain in the back end … C.J. gone, the quarterback of the defense, a linebacker in the middle of the defense … It was shocking. But at the same time, I talked to those guys and had some words with them, made sure they were alright. But like it is, it's business as usual. That's the biggest thing about the NFL, it's a business. Things happen, and you may not know why, but in the end, it's a business decision, and they get paid more than I do."
On if he feels that players are looking to him for guidance this season:"I think it's automatically there because of the simple fact that we lost elder statesmen and lost older guys. But really, I come in every year the same way just ready to play football and ready to give it the best I got, and teach everyone around me as well as I know it, me and the younger guys. Coming into a leadership role, I know that it's now time for me to step up even more than last year and even more next year. I'm ready for it. My biggest thing is to make sure these younger guys are taken under my wing and get the playbook right."
On the new talent on the defense: "Coaches did a great job this offseason grabbing some good guys, like [Daylon] Mack. He's come into his own. Obviously, he's still a rookie, so there are things that he still needs to learn, but he's coming along great. 'Gary,' [Gerald Willis] we finally saw him out today to see what he got, and I saw some things that are looking really good. So, I can't wait until training camp hits and he's out here full-time giving it his all. Some of the guys – like on the double A, on the outsides, MIKE – we got some really good guys, and we have some competition out here. Training camp is going to be very eye-opening."
On if DT Willie Henry seems re-energized after recovering from 2018 injuries:"Definitely. From having the game taken from you and not being able to come out here and play with your teammates, he definitely looks different. He looks better than ever. He looks focused and ready to go this year. He knew what it was like to sit on the sidelines, and now he's ready to get out there."
On the personal goals he wants to accomplish during OTAs this season: "My biggest thing was just to get to know my new teammates – kind of gel again as a defensive corps, as a defensive unit, and just kind of get some of the younger guys and bring them under my wing and keep going like we are. Just bring them along with us – that's the biggest thing. I think we've achieved that."
On what he hopes to see from DT Michael Pierce this season: "Pierce, he's a dog. We call him 'Juggernaut' for a reason. When the guy gets moving, it's hard to stop him. I can't wait to see him back here and just to be playing alongside my brother again. I expect big things out of him. I told him – we did a little Twitter thing – I told him, 'Let's get paid this year. Let's go out there and ball out and get the bag.' Everybody wants that second contract, so let's get him one."
CB Tavon Young
On if entering the new season feels any different after signing his contract extension:"No, I'm still the same guy, still doing the same things, working hard every day, coming here to work, in meetings. So, nothing has changed."
On his impressions of WR Chris Moore and the possibility of him having a breakout season:"Oh yes, Chris always looks good. Since rookie year, I've been going against him, and I feel like he's a great player. He has great hands, he works hard, plays special teams, and yes, I think it's his time now."
On how he views the potential of the secondary:"We want to be No. 1. We want to be the best in the league, and that's always the goal. If we're not No. 1, we're not satisfied. We have a lot of players who can play, start anywhere, so the thing is just to keep the depth and just keep rotating."
On if he enjoys being able to push young receivers:"Of course, it's always fun going against the new guys, just to see the type of receivers you're going against. It works for you, helps you during the season go against the quick guys, the faster guys, stronger, and we have all those types on our team. So, it's been fun."
On if they talk trash during practice:"Oh yes, we always talk, offense-defense."
On if any receivers have grabbed his attention:"All of them have pretty much been making plays, for real. All of them are making pretty good plays. We've been competing, so it's not really one guy that I would say … No. 14 [Sean Modster], he came alive the past couple practices."
On if he's still learning the nuances of the slot position:"Yes, I'm always learning. You never know it all, and I'm still learning from veteran guys. 'B-Carr' [Brandon Carr], he played in the slot sometimes; he's just a veteran, so I talk to him a lot. Playing outside and inside is very different, but there's always something to learn."