Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"Hey, guys – appreciate you guys being here. First day of training camp, we had a lot of fun. [It was a] good, long, tough practice, and the guys pushed through really well. Humidity is up a little bit. Early in the morning, everybody was like, 'Well, it's not so bad.' By the end of practice, it wasn't so good, but it was good for us. Obviously, you have the kids here screaming and having fun – [the media hears] all of that, so it's just a good start. We love football, we love to be back at it, and we're excited about it. A couple things happened in practice you'll ask me about: [Lardarius] Webb didn't pass his conditioning test, so he's PUP [Physically Unable to Perform list] until he does. Terrence Brooks is PUP, Dennis Pitta is PUP – you know both of their injuries – and Casey Walker is PUP with some knee tendonitis. [Breshad] Perriman fell on his knee. It's not serious; it's all sound, so he'll be back as soon as the knee feels a little bit better. It could be as early as tomorrow, or a couple days at the most."
John, you had a plan to pace OLB Elvis Dumervil and OLB Terrell Suggs to help them get to the end of the season and remain strong. Do you have a plan like that for your receivers? (Mike Preston) "To pace them?" (Reporter: "Yes.") "Yes, we do. We probably picked out – I'm going to say off of the top of my head – 12 guys that we feel through training camp we're going to have to really keep a close eye on. This is a younger team, so it's not as many guys as we had in the past, but there are certain guys that don't need as many reps and need more recovery. And that's what you're getting at. [Elvis] Dumervil is definitely in that group, [Terrell] Suggs, Daryl Smith, Steve Smith – guys like that – Justin Forsett."
*And how about during the season in the rotation, because you had four outside linebackers last year? Anything for receivers? *(Mike Preston) "Well, yes. You're probably talking about Steve [Smith] there. Sure, that's something we need to look at and think about. Steve and I have talked about how many reps he's going to play. We'll probably know by the end of preseason how we feel about that, but sometimes you get to a game and you kind of need a guy in the end to make a play. I'm really hoping – to your point – that we have enough guys who we like who we can roll receivers through there and play all those guys. I think we're deep, and if we turn out to be deep – like we hope we are – then all those guys will play."
**John, Steve Bisciotti talked about home playoffs games and how that is a big goal wanting that home playoff game. *(Aaron Wilson) *"Yes, we want home playoff games. We definitely [want] multiple home playoff games. That's what we're looking for, and it doesn't matter what division we're playing against – outside the division or whatever. If we win more games than anybody else, we'll get them all at home. That's the goal."
How does it feel to be out here? Offseason is done; OTAs are done; the draft is done; you have the fans out here. It's kind of like a combination of things, kind of like the first day of school, almost. (Ron Snyder)"Yes, it's an exciting time. Like we've talked about it before, every step along the way is really exciting, and this is the next step along the way. It's definitely the most exciting part so far. But I promise, all you guys are going to be really excited on Saturday, because what's Saturday?" (Reporters: "Pads.") "Pads. Everybody is going to be really excited on Monday, because Monday we're going to be at M&T [Bank Stadium] in front of the crowd. So, it kind of stair-steps the process a little bit, and it just keeps building through the preseason."
John, you're going through camp in your eighth year. What has changed about what you thought was most important from then to now, maybe changed along the way? (Pete Gilbert) "I would say nothing has really changed as far as what's important or not important, but you probably nuanced it a little bit more – how much time you spend here, how important it is to make sure you take care of that scheme-wise, players, whatever it is. [I'm] more comfortable with … Your first time out here … I remember eight years ago, the first training camp practice, standing back there and going, 'Wow, I'm running this practice. I'm really not sure I know what I'm doing.' After eight years, I have a better handle on it. But then again, it's always new, and you always have to adapt and change and grow."
John, with this team almost every year in the playoffs under you, when you bring the guys back … It's a mixture of guys – some guys stay, some new guys – what's kind of the message that you try to establish, especially early on? (Jamison Hensley) "That's a complicated question. There are a lot of ways of looking at who we are, but in the end [it is] who we are, how we play, what we stand for, what it means to play for the Baltimore Ravens, what it means to be a Raven or to Play Like a Raven. That's what we'll try to communicate to the young guys throughout the course of training camp one day at a time. We started doing that last night. Practice is another way of communicating that to them, and by the end of training camp, all the 53 guys that make our team and the other 10 guys on the practice squad need to be Ravens, and that's what we'll be shooting for."
John, I know you don't think about big picture stuff a lot of times, but the continuous success of this team is that when players come here – the newcomers come here – they know what's expected, because they've watched this team in January so much. (Jamison Hensley) "Right, and that goes back … It's 20 years here. It's our 20-year anniversary. [Former Ravens OLB] Jarret Johnson is out here [as a personnel intern]. I mentioned to Jarret Johnson last night [that] we've had some – pardon my French – we've had some bad-ass teams around here, and that's what these guys have to understand what the standard is."
John, how impressed are you by T Rick Wagner and C Jeremy Zuttah being out here? (Aaron Wilson) "Yes, very encouraged by all the guys – including those guys – that they're out here. And we have to be smart, monitor those guys as we go and just keep getting them stronger every day."
Last year RB Justin Forsett made the most of an opportunity. This year, his second year, he's not going to surprise anybody. Thoughts on him coming into his second year here? (Ron Snyder) "Justin's attitude on the fact – as you said, he's not going to surprise everybody – is that he has to be better than he was last year. People have studied him, they've watched the way he runs, and he's going to have to be that much of a better player than he was last year. But Justin Forsett understands that, and he has worked to make sure that happens."
**I know big picture it's just a conditioning test and CB/RS Lardarius Webb will pass, but with him being hungry and his leadership role, does it become a bigger deal? *(Morgan Adsit) *"Well, it's always a big deal. It was a big deal when Jacoby [Jones] didn't pass it. It was a big deal when Haloti [Ngata] didn't pass it. It's always a big deal. You want to see guys pass it. The conditioning test measures anaerobic conditioning. It measures the ability to recover, get your heart rate way up and recover. 'Webby' [Webb] is in really good shape in a lot of different ways – I can see it in the way he moves in the weight room – but he's not in anaerobic [shape], the kind of anaerobic shape he needs to be in to come out here and practice. The idea being that if I go play after play after play, and I begin to get fatigued, and I can't move the way I need to move, I'm going to have a fatigue-type of an injury. That's why we don't allow guys to … That's why it's part of the physical, and that's why we don't allow guys to practice until they're anaerobiclly in condition. Yes, he's a little behind that way, certainly, and he's going to have to make up the ground."
**Can you comment on how CB/RS Lardarius Webb took it just being out here and watching? *(Morgan Adsit) *"He took it hard on himself. He's disappointed he didn't make it, just like you'd expect. I know he's very determined to get through it."
With CB/RS Lardarius Webb down, CB Rashaan Melvin steps right in there. We saw a little bit of him last year. How much has he improved? (Jamison Hensley) "We'll find out. I don't know how much [Rashaan Melvin] improved from last year, just based on standing out there, but I do know one thing: Rashaan Melvin is a pit bull. He is one focused guy, and I would say that about the rest of those young corners, too. We have a bunch of pit bulls out there. So, it's going to be interesting to see how it shakes out, and it's going to be a long haul. You have to play well today and tomorrow and the next day and the day after that right on through to prove that you're for real."
**Can you talk about TE Crockett Gillmore? I guess the opportunity to be more involved in the passing game this year, and the steps he has made from last year to this year in that area, looking more comfortable. *(Cliff Brown) *"I have high hopes for Crockett Gillmore. I really don't want to shy away from that. I believe in him. I believe he's going to be a really special player in this league. Now, it's up to him to go do it. But he has all the ability in the world, and he's a very, very determined guy."
So much of an offense starts with the offensive line. Can you talk about what G/T Marshal Yanda has meant to this team and, maybe, where he ranks in offensive linemen in the league today? (Ron Snyder) "I saw the Madden ranking. Wasn't he the No. 1 offensive linemen in the league? Wasn't he the No. 1 player in the league in some ranking, or some things? Not that I pay attention to any of that stuff." (laugher) (Reporter: "Jamison Hensley polled all of us, and he was [ranked] the No. 1 best player on the team.") "I would agree. He's just a special human being and a special player, and he's a Hall of Famer some day, and I'm sure glad he's on our team."
OLB Elvis Dumervil
On how this year's pass rush will be in the absence of OLB Pernell McPhee:"As long as you've got a guy like Terrell Suggs … We've got [Courtney] Upshaw, we've got Timmy Jernigan and the young guy 'Z' [Za'Darius Smith], so we're excited. We've got our secondary, our staff. Taking nothing away from [Pernell] McPhee, he was a great addition last year for us, but business goes on, and I think we feel great about 2015."
On the role he sees for OLB Za'Darius Smith: "Za'Darius [Smith], he's so gifted, he's talented. I think he'll do it all, honestly. He can play the run some inside, so I don't want to cap him. The sky is the limit for him. Whatever he can retain as a rookie, I'm sure the coaches will do a great job using him."
On his snap and sack counts during his first two years in Baltimore compared to his last two in Denver and being a situational pass rusher for the Ravens:"Imagine if I would have played more, right? It's a gift and a curse – I get it. You can try to reserve your body for 16 weeks or playoffs included. It helps, but at the same time, as a competitor, you want to be out more, and you want to kind of get to the quarterback more and help the team as much as possible, especially in crunch situations. But, we're so talented, and you've got to believe in the system and what we're trying to do. The end goal is to win the Super Bowl, so whatever it takes, that's what we have to do."
On the goal of winning the division and playing home playoff games this season:"It helps. I think more than anything you want to worry about your division first, but you've got to be able to play on the road, too. We want to look at both home and away the same way, but to have a homefield advantage, obviously in our stadium, would be beneficial for everybody." (Reporter: "Do you think you guys are capable of winning the division?") "I think we're capable of anything. I just think we've got to continue to work in camp. We have a talented roster, great coaching staff [and] great fan base, so we're excited for this year, for sure."
On how much last year's Divisional Round loss to New England motivated the team:"It always hurts to lose in a playoff game, but the way we lost, it was very disappointing. So players have to make plays, myself included. When you're so close like that, and the team going and winning a championship, it just shows how close you were. But that's history. Now we're [in] 2015, so we're excited for this year."
On setting a goal for the number of sacks he wants to reach this year:"You never go in and try to say a number, because you cap yourself. As a sack guy, it comes in bunches. Some games it doesn't come, but you've got to stay consistent with it, believe in what you do, and eventually good things will happen. And when those things happen, it helps the team. Whatever you can do to help the team get to the Super Bowl, that's what's important."
On how much competition exists between him and OLB Terrell Suggs:"It's always competition [with Terrell] Suggs and other guys around the league. A guy like Suggs doesn't need much motivation. But it's great to play with a great player. We just feed off each other. He makes a play; I want to make a play. I make a play; he wants to make a play. And we've got a lot of other players: C.J. Mosley, Daryl [Smith], the guys in the backend. So it's a lot of players, a lot of things that happen to get the sack. It's just not me or Suggs. It's a combined effort of everything."
QB Joe Flacco
On if head coach John Harbaugh is asking too much when expecting the team to be near perfect on Day One:"You come out here and you're out here for three hours, and you realize about 2:15 [p.m.] how much we are out here, how much work we're getting done. I think a couple days into it, we'll start to see ourselves get a little bit of energy towards the end of practice. But you could definitely tell today guys were wearing out and getting fatigued towards the end and kind of feeling like it was dragging a little bit. So, that's part of it. That's part of camp, is getting out here and getting into football shape. Because no matter what you do, you can't totally simulate going one-on-one with guys and getting some nervous energy out and doing all those things. A couple days into it, even though we technically should be more tired, more fatigued, just because we've been practicing, I think we'll start to feel better – better about practice and getting through it with good, high-intensity, perfect reps. Whereas, right now, we're just pushing through and everything might not be perfect, but we're just trying to push through it and get ourselves in shape."
On how it feels with football being the sole focus entering training camp compared to last season:"Honestly, it doesn't feel that different. When you're in training camp, it's tough to think about too many other things. I know we had a little bit of a distraction last year, but I thought we did a good job of putting that behind us and taking it for what it was. But yes, I guess it's nice, but – like I said – I think that [football] was our main concern last year, too. It's tough when you're in this kind of schedule and you're out here on the field and you're trying to get better; it's tough to think about those things anyway."
On the goal of winning the division and playing home playoff games this year:"Yes, [winning the division is] always big, and it's not necessarily because we want home playoff games. It's because we want to win a division, and that's just the result of it. I think that's our first goal every year is to win games within our division and do what we can to win our division. But at the same time, you just [have] to go out there and take it week by week, do the best you can and look up at the end of the season and see where you are. I think that's always our main goal is to win the division. Obviously, we would love to get some home playoff games in front of these guys, in front of our fans here. But at the same time, a playoff game is a playoff game, and we'd love to go out there and play the way we should and be good enough to get another chance to be there."
On if G Marshal Yanda is the best offensive linemen he has seen:"Yes. I mean come on, this is at the highest level, and he's one of the best guys out there in the league. So the way he just goes out there and how tough he is and how he, every single play, just physically gets after you, gets after you, gets after you … [He] does everything he can from the beginning of the first quarter to the end of whenever it is. It's very impressive. I've been with him, obviously, my whole career. Early on – he probably – he was on and off. He got hurt a little bit, but man, he's just … The physicality that he brings to the game, it's kind of weird to say, because that's all playing offensive line is, but he obviously just takes it up to another level."
On WR Breshad Perriman fighting through drops to make plays:"That's part of becoming a good player. It's being able to put those mistakes behind you and move on. And you've got to realize, this is a long training camp, and you can't look at a couple mistakes that you're going to make here and there and let that affect how you're going to go play. Everybody is going to make them, especially young guys. We have to make sure that we work through them and they get tough because of it [and that] they don't go downhill because of it. I think he's the type of guy that is going to react well to it, and he's going to want to go back out there and make another play, and I think that we've seen that so far. We've just got to make sure it continues to happen."
On what he attributes his postseason sharpness to:"What do I attribute that to?" (Reporter: "Yes.") "I think we come out here and push it every day. We push the envelope, and we really challenge ourselves to get better at this time of the year. And, everything that we have in mind that we do towards the [season] – in the season, before the season, everything that we do – is looking ahead to the fact that when we get into January [and] February, how can we do things that help us play the best at that time?"
On if G Marshal Yanda is the one guy on the team he would least like to fight:"Obviously, he would be a pretty good choice for that. I'm pretty sure most of the guys on the team, for me, would be a … I could probably pick 90 percent of the guys I wouldn't want to fight in an alley. So, I don't know."
G/T Marshal Yanda
On which teammate he would not like to face in a fight: "I don't know. Probably Steve Smith. You would think you would probably hit that guy 100 times, [and he would] just keep on coming. So, probably Steve Smith." (Reporter: "That's what I would say about you also.") "Yes, probably. It'd be a good fight, I'll tell you that." (laughter)
On how brining in new players will affect the team: "I think they do a great job of bringing good guys in and continuing to build the team every year, and [we] try to get better and better. That's what the Ravens do, and it seems like it this year, again. We're all excited to be out here and get after it, and like coach [John Harbaugh said], we have a lot of good players to prove and show a lot of things out there, and we should be a good football team."
On how he feels physically: "I feel great. I feel good – 100 percent. It's nice to be healthy, play football and be healthy and not have to worry about [anything], so I'm feeling good."
On if the learning curve ever stops for players: "It doesn't matter if it's your first year or if it's your 15th year, you're always still sharpening your game, and you kind of lose stuff when you're not playing football for a while. Obviously, you just have to sharpen back those skills. It doesn't matter if you're a rookie or an older vet, you're working on your technique and craft every day."
On opening this training camp without any outside distractions: "It's just nice not having the distraction. We can just focus on football. It's just nice not to have that distraction, for sure."
On the expectation that the Ravens will make the playoffs every year:"It's good to have those expectations, because we should be a good football team every year. It's nice to know that [in] this organization, we're here to be good, and we're here to get in the playoffs, we're here to win championships. That's the bar, so everybody that comes in here – even as a young player – you understand that we're going to the playoffs, and we're going to do good things. It's nice to have that bar, and it's nice for the young guys to know that's what's expected, too. So, that's a good thing."
On whether being considered the best offensive linemen in the NFL is important to him: "No. Obviously, I take pride in working hard and being the best player I can be, but I'm more worried about the football team and us as an offensive line and us as an offense more than that. You just go out here and do your job every day to the best of your ability, and you try to be great. I'm not going to lie; I come out here, and I want to be great in everything I do. So, you just work your tail off and you hope that happens."
On if it is good to have T Rick Wagner back on the field: "Yes. Rick [Wagner] has to work through, obviously, the bumps and bruises of that injury and stuff like that, but it's good to have him back out there. He's looking good, and it's good to be back."
On what he expects from RB Justin Forsett's second year with the Ravens: "We expect great things out of [Justin Forsett]. We're all excited about him. Obviously, he's not going to surprise anybody now [after], obviously, what he did last year. So, you have to work that much harder. But Justin is a great guy and a great player, and we're excited to have him back, and we're expecting great things out of him."