THURSDAY (7/19) TRAINING CAMP TRANSCRIPTS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "Great day! Wouldn't you agree? You all like football, right? Did you have fun today? It's great being out here! The weather couldn't have been any better. The fans were into it – had the cheering section going over there for a while, right? And the kids – seeing all the kids over there signing autographs … It's the start of training camp in the National Football League and in Baltimore. We're really proud of the whole setting. Had a visiting coach here today, Ray Oliver from the University of Kentucky. He has been the basketball strength and conditioning coach, works in administration. He said, 'Man, this is like the Atlantis of football right here. How can it be any better than this setting?' It's pretty cool. I don't want to take it for granted. A couple things of note: We had a couple vets leave early. I think I mentioned this to some of the media here that we're ramping our way in. So, we'll do that with different guys – everybody's on a different plan. Everybody hit their mark today, did a good job, so we'll move forward with that as we go throughout the course of this week. PUP [Physically Unable to Perform] guys – you know who they are, right? Quincy [Adeboyejo], Bam [Bradley], Jaylen [Hill], Vince Mayle, [Marshal] Yanda, [Brent] Urban. Urban will be practicing soon – he's not on PUP. Vince Mayle has a high ankle sprain – he should be ready to come back pretty quick. Mark Andrews was held out today with a muscle tissue issue, and Greg Senat sustained an injury that'll keep him out anywhere from one to three weeks at the end of the minicamp. So that's where we're at."
Do you have a timetable or prognosis that you can share about G Marshal Yanda on where he's at? (Jerry Coleman) "Marshal is a situation where he had his shoulder worked on, I think at the end of January, early February, somewhere in there. If we were playing a game, he probably could play – as tough as he is. But we're probably going to be very cautious of that and just kind of do what's best to get him ready for September. There really is not a timetable. I would just say 'no hurry' at this point."
So the ankle or the leg, he's all back from that? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Right. There's no issue anymore with the ankle injury."
We talked about the passing game all offseason. Out there today, it didn't seem like there were a whole lot of drops, but a lot of those catches. Is that encouraging, you would say? (Todd Karpovich)"It is encouraging. Thanks for the observation. I thought we looked fairly sharp. I mean, there were a lot of things that weren't anywhere close to being game-ready. It's the first day, and that's why we come out here and try to stack practices and plays. But we have some good players out there, and I thought the guys threw well. We got a lot of work in on our passing game. We had a lot more, maybe, induvial-type work, than we normally get sometimes in training camp, so that was good for us."
There was a report this morning that WR Breshad Perriman's roster option was picked up. Can you confirm that, and is that a case where his work this summer can make the team? (Bo Smolka) "I think that comes up tomorrow. I don't know – I haven't been informed on what the plans are that at this point. So I don't know – that'd be a good question for Ozzie [Newsome]. If he was answering questions, he could probably answer it for you, but I don't think he will. So, you're probably not going to get an answer on that. We'll just see that and see what happens."
We talked a lot about the increased adaptability with defensive coordinator Don Martindale's defense. ILB C.J. Mosley is the quarterback of the defense. Does that mean even more responsibility on him? Are you excited to see what he does with that? (Childs Walker)"C.J. can handle as much responsibility as you give him. He is the middle linebacker, so he'll be making those calls. But he's not the only one; other guys have calls. The SAM linebacker makes calls, our safeties make calls, pretty much everyone on our defense is responsible to communicate. The fact that we're going to have our players somewhat more involved is a good thing. We have smart players, and it gives you a chance in real time in the course of a game, or even during a play, to make a necessary adjustment."
With QB Joe Flacco having all these good pass-catchers, are there any differences in him that you know? Does he seem particularly charged up having all these new receivers? (Aditi Kinkhabwala)"It'd be a great question for him. Joe … He does seem charged up, I guess. Joe's pretty even-keeled. But I do see excitement. I think he's excited. He does seem to like his receivers, and I think he's very motivated and wants to go to work."
In one sense, how beneficial can the extra practice and reps time be, especially during this period when veterans are going in early before the young players? In the other sense, how much do you have to watch carefully how much you practice the veterans? (Jeff Zrebiec)"To me, it's time on task. If we have … Really, in the big picture, we have one more week to work. We don't need to do maybe quite the same pace, especially starting off this first week that we would do. I think it gives us an opportunity to have more of an acclamation period, especially to your veteran guys, to your point, and then also really for the whole team. So we weren't out here as long as we will be in training camp – you noticed that. It gives us the opportunity, probably over the long haul, to get more work in, but also to spread the work out a little more and give us a little more recovery, which would be beneficial. I'm not so sure – maybe this is an idea that the powers would be would consider … An acclamation is really important. If we can get a week instead of two days to … Not to push it back so we have a shorter time to get our guys ready to play football, but to put it in front of training camp, where we can get our guys ramped up for the collisions and the hard movements and all that that go with football – maybe we would avoid some of these first two- or three-day injuries that we get a lot during training camp. That's our goal this year; we'll see how it works out."
WR Michael Crabtree said to us today, "This is too much talk, I just want to play." How do you manage that when camp is so long? How do you not turn that into boredom? (Aditi_ Kinkhabwala) "I'm not seeing the connection of him saying,'It's too much talk; I just want to get it.' It sounds to me he wants to go practice football and he wants to get into it. I just don't think he's a really talkative guy." _(laughter) (Reporter: "Well he said, 'play games,' 'play football games.'")"Well, I want to see all the guys play a football game. I feel the same way. But the other thing he told me in the weight room – which I thought … It's funny you bring this up. I had mentioned to him, 'Hey, I'm excited for practice, but I can't wait to see our guys play against the Bears!' And he said, 'One day at a time, coach. I just take it one day at a time. One day then the next day.' So he was giving me the coach wisdom."
RB Alex Collins goes from last year a late-summer pickup to the practice squad to where now he gets the second-half of practice off with the veterans. How was he grown over the course of the year?_ (Bo Smolka) "He was grown when he came in. It's a good point, but I think he was there. He's in the same mindset. I don't think he's changed one bit. I think he's kind of mad right now, to be honest with you. Was it ESPN or NFL.com or somebody that made him the [No.] 26-ranked running back in the National Football League? Did I see that? Was I actually reading a media report?(laughter)_I did mention it to him, and he had seen it. That'll motivate you a little bit."
RB Alex Collins
On how he looks at a longer training camp: "I think it's a positive thing. I just think it's extra days for us to come out there and work together and just get better. So having us come in early, I look at it as a good thing. It's giving us a head start, giving us the opportunity to get ahead of everybody. Just looking at it from that aspect and coming in every day with the right mindset, we just take advantage of the time."
On his goals coming into season: "I've set a lot of goals for myself, as well as for the group – just trying to push each other to be great, and that's our main goal. We're just trying to be the best group in the NFL. We want to be the best running back group. We just hold each other accountable coming in here every day, whether it's our diet … We all eat the same foods and do the same workouts and just push each other through when we're out doing practice. So as a personal goal, I always wanted to step my game up and do better than I did last year, as a personal goal. But as an overall group goal, we just want to be the best."
On coming in bigger this season:"I came in a little heavier this season, just trying to see what I'm comfortable at this year."
On if he sees anything different in QB Joe Flacco's personality this season: "Joe always has a lot of personality. He's a good guy; he's a real funny guy. But definitely coming in this year, he has a lot of fire behind him and it does a lot motivating us, especially earlier when we first reported back – getting all the guys in and just seeing all the personality come out throughout the guys as we progressed along, just seeing him work hard and just seeing him get better every day. He's definitely got a lot of fire behind him this year."
On if he can tell if Flacco is healthier this season: "Most definitely. He's a lot faster, as well, by the way, guys."
On if Flacco is as fast as QB Lamar Jackson: "Oh hey, we could have them race out here, see how that goes!"
On if it's strange to compare his status with his position coming into last season:"It is, and that's something that I always think about. I always go back to where I started and where I am now, and I use that as my motivation. No matter the day, no matter how tired I am, I think to myself, at this time last year, I didn't know my position, where I was, where I'd end up. So just having that security behind it is definitely my motivation to keep it this way and keep pushing forward and keep trying to get better instead of being complacent."
On how much more comfortable he Is going into training camp this season: "I don't want to say necessarily 'comfortable,' because when I use that word, it makes me feel like I'm too relaxed and lackadaisical. I'm more focused. I don't want to get comfortable. I don't want the team or our group to get comfortable, because we just want to get better every day. So, in the position I am, it's a great feeling, but I'm always pushing myself to be better."
On if he expects to be the starting running back, or if he expects competition: "I expect that. I would hope that all the other running backs expect [to be the starter] as well, and that's what kind of drives our group – when we all know that we have that capability to be the No. 1 guy, and we're out competing and push each other and try to be the best. No matter who's out there during the game, you'll see a productive play out of that person. So, I have that mindset. I want to be the guy. I have that fire in me, and I hope [that is] as well as the other running backs, as I encouraged them as well."
On if the 1,000-yard mark is one of his goals:"As a running back, I think that's important. Every year, to me personally, that's one of the goals that I set: just to hit 1000 yards, and I've been doing this back since high school. With that being said, I don't want to take that personal goal and get ahead of myself and just think about trying to get yards, trying to get yards, thinking about the big play, because the games are situational. You do everything right, and in a game, the stats will be determined on your play. So, going into games and going into it, I don't think, 'yards, yards, yards.' I just try to be where I'm supposed to be, do exactly how it's supposed to be done, and just finishing plays strong is how I pick up those extra yards to try to get that goal."
On becoming more involved as a receiver as last season went on, and the biggest difference in that role: "The biggest focus is on just knowing the schemes and knowing where everyone is around you, where the receivers are and the scheme of the defense. That's the thing, and that's also more of just an opportunity thing. Starting from it, no film on it, you don't have any catches, and then as you progress throughout the season, your coaches can see that you're that trustworthy guy that they can dump it down to. You start to get more active in the passing game, and that's just something that I wanted to prove. Throughout the season, I just wanted to show that they can trust my hands and just get better as it, and as we progressed, they started trusting me more in the passing game. That's something also I wanted to work on in the offseason, so that they know, from this backfield and from me personally, that they have sure hands."
On how much bigger he got: "Last year, my playing weight, I was around 200 [pounds], and I just put on five extra pounds just to see how that feels, and I'm moving around great. I've still got my stamina, as well as more strength, so I just look forward to seeing how it looks in pads."
On pressure on John Harbaugh and other teammates to produce, especially in terms of the postseason: "We add that to the adversity, and that's just something that we take personal. Knowing that and just going off that, those are the goals that we set, and how to get those goals, it starts here. It starts at the beginning of camp during the preseason, just fine tuning, and just trying to be better every day. And with that mindset, that postseason will come easily."
On his message for where fantasy football owners should draft him:"Draft me now before it's too late, guys."
WR Michael Crabtree
On if he also worked with QB Joe Flacco during the previous week's throwing session at the park: "Just running routes, catching the ball."
On if he made the call for the session: "No, that's all Flac [Flacco], man. That's the leader. We're just the wideouts. [We] do whatever he says. If we've got something we bring to the table, then we make it work."
On his thoughts on his first training camp practice with his new team:"Excited. I couldn't sleep last night. I don't know why. [Wasn't like we're going to] have a football game or something, but it was a new team, new teammates and first day at war. Training camp, it doesn't get better."
On how he's seen Flacco adjust to the new group of receivers: "We're all adjusting, right? We're all new, just trying to find time to gel. And that's what we've been doing, is putting in the overtime, putting in that work and making things come together."
On how he thinks Flacco and the receivers are coming together so far:"It's day by day. It's at our pace. I only can control what's in front of me, and that's when we're doing routes. And I feel like we're getting better every day."
On his thoughts on QB Lamar Jackson:"Lamar Jackson? Are you the same person that asked me the same question last time? (laughter) Lamar's a baller, man. He plays ball. He's out there right now working, trying to learn the offense, learn the coverages, the reads, and I feel like he's getting there."
On what he sees in WR Breshad Perriman:"Speed. He's a football player. It's kind of hard on him, because the media is real hard on him. But like I tell him, 'Man, just go play ball, and don't worry about nobody and what they say to you. Just keep getting better and better every day, because once you prove it on the field, then all that goes away.'"
On juggling being a veteran and also new to the team:"It's football. At the end of the day, it's football, and you just lead by example, and you know football, you read, watching film, you know where you're supposed to be. And like I said, you just lead by example to the young guys, and they follow suit, and they've been doing a good job. We've got some talented receivers in the room – young guys, older guys, even like Chris [Moore] and those guys, Tim [White], guys that you sleep on, who can play ball. I'm excited to get in there with those guys, and let's just make it happen. I'm really kind of tired talking about it, and 'Flacco' and this and that. Let's play ball, and win."
On John Harbaugh's decision to allow some veterans to finish practice and not go "full throttle" early: "It's kind of different for me, because I've never played in the Hall of Fame Game or been a part of it. You're here two-and-a-half weeks earlier than what you usually would be, so it's kind of like you've got to pace yourself. You don't want to come in full speed, and you still have five weeks to the first game, or six weeks. I think it's always important to pace yourself, and I think we just follow coach. Harbaugh has been doing this for a while. He's a leader, so whatever he's got for us, we just attack it and do what we're supposed to do."
On taking care of his body as veteran differently than as a rookie:"I feel like everybody goes through it. You really don't know your body until your fourth or fifth year. When I was young, I was going out there, shoes don't even have to be tied, running routes and all that. And now, it's almost like you've got to wear ankle braces, shoes, all that. It changed, and you learn how to take care of your body – eating right, working smarter, not harder. So, it comes with age and experience."
ILB C.J. Mosley
On how practice went and his practice plan moving forward:"Besides today, the next two days, I'll be doing individuals, and so are a few of the other vets. We'll be doing our little conditioning while they're finishing up practice. It varies between players. I know after the practice Saturday at the stadium, I'll be out there after that from that point on."
On what it's like to have a seven-week training camp: "You have to look at it positively. You can be anywhere in this world nowadays, and we're all thankful and thankful enough to be here with the Baltimore Ravens and having a job to feed our families. No matter how many weeks or days it is, you have to think about it positively and try to make the best out of every day – come in early and get your work in and get out and stay out of trouble."
On how much trust needs to exist to have the coaching staff ease veterans into practice:"I think you have to work your way through it. As far as I know, ever since I've been here, we haven't had an extra week to come in and preparing for a fifth game. For the most part, as you saw today, some of the main guys got kind of got the [practice] day off. You see me out here sweating like I just got finished with practice. It's all a part of getting up and coming to work. No matter what, we have to practice. Practicing or not, or be off some of the practices and run, it's all part of the system. He's going to make sure that he has us right. You have to think about the coaches, too. They were here a lot more than we were in our little break that we did have. Now they have a building full of guys trying to earn a spot, so they're job is more stressful than it was before. You have to look at it both ways."
On if he's excited about the "new" adaptable defense: "Yes, it gives us a chance … Well, first, you have to be in the playbook a lot more now since he opened up the playbook for us more. It gives the veterans and the guys that are on the field a chance to be more diverse. We won't be lining up as one defense in certain plays or certain formations. We can be in the same defense but have different looks. That's just one of the things we worked on in the offseason – guys getting familiar with different positions and learning all of the positions, so when you get put in a [different] position, you can switch. If I was a different defender, everybody can be able to coexist in the same defensive run, run different patterns in different places out of one defense." (Reporter: "Would you say that's more responsibility for you?")"I think it's responsibility for whatever 11 guys are out there. Like I said, I can switch with the D-line – not saying it's going to happen – but he can end up in a middle field drop so to speak. That's just one way you can look at it. So every guy has to know his position, and that just helps the defense get better if you do that."
On how much more challenging it is to learn the layers of the playbook:"It's just like coming to a new system pretty much, except we pretty much know the whole defense – there's just different ways to run the defense. A lot of the plays are still the same, [though we] might have changed the verbiage here or there. But for the most part, it's been pretty much the same. It just goes back to what we were just talking about: guys knowing the line and different positions so we can be more versatile on defense."
On if he senses the younger guys looking to him for guidance:"I think they look to whoever can help them. As far as the inside linebackers' room, I kind of take the role of the guy to come to when they have questions. That goes with the second-year guys and third-year guys, with [Matthew] Judon and guys like that. They know the defense, too. If every linebacker knows the outside linebacker, the SAM, the WILL, the MIKE, the dime – if we all know that, we can all coexist and help each other out. You never know what's going to happen. Somebody could get hurt, somebody could go down, and the next man has to step up and be ready to play just like that, because it's happened before."
On how QB Joe Flacco is different this season: "I think every year he comes in with his mindset that he wants to be great, mainly because everybody outside of this building doesn't think he's elite, and inside the building everybody does think that way. So, I think every year he has a point to prove and even more so this year. We bring three quarterbacks in, drafted a first-round quarterback – that's no new news for anybody in here. It lets them know that in the NFL, at some point in time, people are looking to replace you, and that's just the nature of the game. Since Joe's been here, he's one of the players to never get rattled. You never see his emotions too high, too low. He's always been our quarterback that stayed in the middle and made everything go smooth. That's kind of how he's been this offseason, too. He's come in looking strong, body looking good. He's out there throwing passes with the guys, so he's ready to go. We're not worried about that."
On what he's thinking when he sees two quarterbacks on the field: "Well, we talked. Whoever isn't our quarterback is just another player. Whoever is at quarterback, we treat him as a quarterback. That's all I can say about that one."
On his contract update:"No updates so far. Next time I have my media day, I'll make sure I talk to my agent [and] see where we're at. Nothing has been configured by them. I mean, my answer is still the same from OTAs. Got here yesterday, got here today ready to work, that's what it's all about. Whether something works out or not, I still have an obligation to be the guy in the middle to make the plays and make the calls. That's my job; that's what I'm here to do."
On what's new about OLB Terrell Suggs this season:"He's way more fit. He came in last year in one of his best shapes and even better this year. I think Years 15 to 16, he still has that drive, he still has that energy, he still has that motivation to be one of the best players in all of football and have a Hall of Fame-caliber career. Every year he plays, he just adds on to that."
On if there is an urgency for postseason success as they head into training camp:"Every year this team doesn't make the playoffs, the lines get thinner and thinner. I'm speaking on guys being here. They know that potential guys are losing their jobs, because when you don't win, you're replaced – that's on upstairs and on the field. We haven't been to the playoffs since my rookie year, and that definitely sucks – especially the last two years of how we went out, the last play of the game – two seasons not making the playoffs because of the defense in two minutes couldn't finish. We talk about the past and what made us get to that situation, and not finishing or whatever reason it might have been the past two years, but it's known – we don't have to talk about it. We know what this team is capable of. We know what the city expects, and being a part of the Baltimore Ravens is we know what kind of standard we have to live up to. Like you said, us not being in the playoffs the last three seasons, we definitely know time is running out. We have to make something happen. I feel like this is one of the most anticipated preseasons we've been in since my rookie year. I'm definitely excited to see what the offense brings to the table and what the defense brings to the table, because we've been working our butt off on defense – especially to get the new system going, plugging in new guys. I think, personally, since I was rookie, as far as D-line, linebackers and cornerbacks and secondary, we definitely have a lot of players that can play different spots. There's definitely competition all over the field."
On the fans at training camp:"It's great to have them out. First play, I think we had an interception, and the crowd went crazy. That just adds more fun to the game. You're not just competing against each other, but now we're trying to put on a show. We want the fans to see what we got, see what we've been working on all offseason. Now they get a chance to see it for training camp."
On the effect of not making the playoffs being on John Harbaugh:"Well, I think as far as we can see, we haven't seen anything. Being the leader of a team, of a group of young and old men, you have to have that mannerism. You can't let the guys that look up to you see you down or see you frustrated. It's a tough league – wins and losses come – but at the end of the day, it's about how you persevere and how you react to it. After every win and after every loss, we get down, whether we're celebrating or trying to cheer each other up, we all get down on one knee and pray. We pray as a team through wins and losses. I think that's one of the main things about coach Harbaugh – he never gets too high or too low. If he does, he'll come in and tell the guys that he thought it over, he says what he feels is good and bad, and we move on forward. That's kind of how he's been. Like I said, wins and losses come, and we all know what we've got to do to get back where we want to be."