RAVENS TRAINING CAMP TRANSCRIPTS: Aug. 11
Head Coach John Harbaugh
On the progress made at camp:"We've made tremendous progress. I would say we've had a very good camp. We still feel like we've got four or five days here to go, and we have a lot of work to do between now and then."
On S Ed Reed's injury status:"That's between Bill [Tessendorf, head athletic trainer, and Reed]. We've got plenty of experts working on it. I think they're confident that they're making a lot of progress with the deal. Ed wants to be right. Any great player wants to feel physically right. I think it's our job and our goal to get him to that point."
On Reed's ability to still take part in practice:"It's really important for him to be out here moving around. That's why we have the red jersey, because as a football player, changing directions – especially a DB – backpedaling, bursting, spacing, those things are going to be important for him. He doesn't need the contact stuff to get ready to play, but the movement stuff is important."
On Reed's ability to play in the regular season opener:"I'm not doubtful of that at all, based on what we've been told with the doctors. But I understand where, as an athlete, you want it to be right."
On whether the head coaching experience has been everything he hoped:"Everything and more in a lot of ways. It's been challenging, it's been invigorating and it's been great working with this group of guys."
On what stood out about the game experience:"The sideline and the interaction with our players and our coaches in a competitive setting. In this competitive league we're in, this competitive field we're in, there are a lot of competitors. That's what we like to do. Being around those guys was really, I don't want to say 'fun,' but it was fun. It was really enjoyable to be one of the guys in that competitive setting."
On RB Willis McGahee's status:"We're going to go in there and scope and clean it up just to make sure he's going to be ready to play opening day and make sure we know exactly what's going on in there."
On where McGahee's procedure would take place:"I think he is in Miami."
On whether McGahee may miss the regular season opener:"There's always a possibility. You never say 'never' on those things, but we're confident without the scope he would've been ready. We just feel like this is kind of a cautionary procedure to make sure we're right."
On the team parting ways with FB Justin Green:"The thing about Justin that was so interesting was he came out yesterday and had his best practice. That's what makes it so hard. Our numbers situation in some other areas dictated that we had to make a move, but I think he'll get picked up really quickly. If he doesn't, he's still possibly in our plans based on things that could change."
On WR Derrick Mason:"Watching Derrick Mason from afar, I always respected him as a player. I didn't realize how good he is. When you see him every day up close, you realize how really good he is. We expect him to have a very good year and be a big part of our offense."
On Reed's style of play:"Ed's interesting. Having coached a secondary, you have a good idea of the picture you look for back there. Ed is good enough to change the picture just a little bit. In other words, he doesn't have to be quite as deep or quite as wide or quite as tight as another guy would and still be in position to make the play. You see why he's made so many plays over the years, kind of by baiting quarterbacks a little bit. He's got a real knack for that."
On whether the defensive pressure hurts the offense's development:"We have a philosophy that we've always had of throwing it out there and competing. I know Cam [Cameron] feels that way and Rex [Ryan] feels that way. We all have the same personality and the same mindset that way. We believe, in the end, that's going to make our offense better. If you go slow and all of a sudden they get those things thrown on them in a game and they've never seen it before, that's not good either."
On whether Reed is allowed to improvise:"No. He plays the defense. He plays the call. You've got to be in position. If you're a half-cover player, that's what you play. If you're a middle third, that's what you play."
On CB Frank Walker:"Competitor. Barrel of laughs. He's a good football player. Frank Walker has had a tremendous camp. He really has."
On the defense using laterals on a turnover return:"We coach that, actually. We coach, 'Score on turnovers.' But you've got to do it within reasonable parameters. The idea is that we don't want to turn the ball back over. We've practiced when to pitch it, when not to pitch it, pitch phase by the trailing player, timing the pitch and things like that. It's something we work on, and we expect that they do it correctly."
On the opportunity for younger players to show something when veterans are resting:"A heck of an opportunity. The guy I just watched in practice that jumped out was Derrick Martin. Derrick Martin might've made three or four really nice plays out there, and that'll catch people's eyes."
CB Frank Walker
On playing with S Ed Reed:"'Defensive Player of the Year' says it itself. I'm honored to be here, but I always tell guys, 'You better watch your back or Ed will take your candy, the football.' Ed will sneak up on you. I looked up today, and my man was running a comeback. I'm breaking up on the ball, and I see Ed fly by. 'Where'd you come from, man?' He'll come from everywhere, so it's a great thing to be out there. I always heard the stories about how Ed Reed makes plays, and now I'm out here witnessing them."
On whether his energy fits well into the defense:"Most definitely. This is probably the best move I could've ever made with Rex Ryan and all the guys in his crew. That's a great crew. We have a K.I.L.L. philosophy – keep it likeable and learnable. That's definitely working out for me."
On switching teams during the offseason:"It's definitely a fresh start. Any new start is a fresh start. I'm not mad with the way anything went in Green Bay. I had a great deal out there. I played the nickel. I played the dime. I played wherever they needed me, so it was a great thing for me. But, I'm definitely loving it here."
On jawing with receivers:"With these guys out here on the field, it's more of an enthusiasm-type thing. I'm not getting in their head in a negative way. We're basically just trying to raise up the competitive nature between each other. We realize that if we practice hard against each other out here, on the game day it's a whole lot easier."
On his style of play:"Physical and brute, baby. Whatever type of guy you call it, I haul it. I'm never going to complain about the call. None of that. If a play's made and it's on me, it's on me. It's never on the defense. I've got broad shoulders."
On the Brett Favre situation:"You never know. These guys had a six-hour meeting. Nothing I say could really matter about what went on in that meeting."
On how the Packers' decision to go with Aaron Rodgers might affect the locker room:"The older guys would probably say, 'We want Brett,' and the younger guys would probably say, 'We want Aaron,' given the fact that it's all about who your peers are. Of course, I would be with my peers and you would be with your peers. If we were in an election race, you would be with your guy, and I would be with my guy. That's how I would guess it went."
On whether he thinks the Brett Favre discussion would end now:"It definitely won't end. Every time there's a good throw made by Aaron Rodgers, they'll say, 'That's a Brett Favre-type throw.' Whenever there's a bad throw by Rodgers, they'll say, 'Brett Favre would've made that throw.' When a guy puts 16 years in your city and a Super Bowl championship and holds every record, it's hard to forget about him."
On the ability of the defense to lead the team to a playoff berth:"They've done it before. The times when I've watched, I've seen them do it time and time again. But you also have to realize that this offense is practicing against a defense that over the last 10 years has been No. 1 in every category. Sooner or later, their game's going to step up. Their game is going to get better. It's a double-edged sword for them. You practice against the hardest defense. You can say what you want to, but sooner or later they're going to step up."
On the depth in the secondary:"You've got three or four guys that can play the slot and the outside. Whenever you've got that, usually it's one-and-a-half guys that can play the slot. Over here, we've got me, Samari [Rolle], Corey Ivy and Ronnie Prude. All of us can slide into the slot, so that's definitely a plus. We're going to be able to match up better across the board with teams who like to run four wide receivers and create mismatches."
On the difficulty of playing on an island as a cornerback:"It's definitely the toughest position on the field, but I look at it like this: The work is as hard as you make it. When I'm out there on the island, I'm a gambler. It could be hit or miss. I figure, 'If I make this play for the team, we're up.' I know if I don't make this play, I've got 10 more guys swinging, getting to the ball, and we're going to do it again. When you've got so much faith in your other guys, you step out on a limb sometimes. You're right –you are out there on an island. It's called an island for a reason. You're by yourself."
On why he signed with the Ravens:"Every time I would cut the TV on, I'd see the Ravens' defense. I'd see enthusiasm. I'd see people happy, smiling, everybody running to the ball, everybody dapping each other up and making it a great thing. I figured, what place would I rather be? I had a couple of teams offer me the exact same thing the Ravens offered me. I would much rather be a Raven."
S Ed Reed
On his shoulder:"It's day-to-day right now. I've just been getting treatment on it. It's a little bit more in-depth than you've been hearing about. I can't really explain it at this point because I'm still researching it myself, but I figure it might be all right."
On whether he will start in the opener:"We'll see, man. We'll see."
On what caused the injury:"It's just years of playing this game. I've been playing this game for 27 years. Just years of playing. Most tackles that I've made have been on my left side, but I'm out here moving around and loosening it up. Just seeing how it feels playing in a game situation. It's just being smart with it."
On the red jersey:"I played quarterback in high school. So if they need me to go over there with those guys I can. But it's just something to help the guys understand not to have any contact. And that hasn't worked at all. I still have been getting bumped, still been hitting the ground, running through guys, which is a good thing, because you really get a feel of whether you can get hit or not, which usually is a good feeling."
On how he has progressed with experience:"I think the experience is there. I think as we get older the quickness and all that kind of slows down. I think I'm a lot better than I was earlier in my career mentally, but the quickness and everything is still up to par. But, we've still got a lot of work we can do."
On whether wide receivers in general are improving:"I think the guys get faster as you go, but like I said, that has a lot to do with us slowing down. I don't know if these guys are better. Hopefully they have, but I haven't seen too many guys outside of the Chad Johnsons and the Marvin Harrisons – the guys who are really good, that have the mental game and have the speed to keep their game up. The young guys coming in still have a lot to do to get the experience, but the talent is going to get better."
On the possibility of shoulder surgery:"At some point, probably after football, I'll have to have surgery just to clear things up."
On last year as motivation:"Last year is so over with. I'm not even thinking about that. We've got new coaches, and it's a whole new year. We're a new team with a new identity. Last year is so far behind us."
On secondary coach Chuck Pagano:"Coach understands me. He definitely helps me just as a man. But coach knows me, he understands me. I've been helping him understand the guys that we have, and I think that's really good."
On the quarterback competition:"I think Troy [Smith] and Kyle [Boller] are really in a battle for it. I think [Joe] Flacco is definitely coming up. I think he's young guy and still picking up on Cam [Cameron]'s offense – which all of them are still picking up on Cam's offense – but I think it's a battle between those two. Really, right now I think Flacco still has a long ways to go as far as learning the system and just getting the speed of the game. You can see he can throw every ball. It's just a matter of getting him time with the line to learn."
On the secondary:"I think since I've been here, this has probably been the best secondary we've had, just talent-wise. Even from the safety position. Fabian [Washington] and Frank [Walker] are great additions. They bring two different games. Frank is going to talk with you and bump you and get at you, and Fabian is not going to let you get past him. So you've really got two different guys, with two good characters."
On the rookies:"Oh man, I love those boys. They're playmakers. We've got playmakers. We've got guys who are just instinctive about football, and know the game and play the game, and that's what you like."
On playmaker ability:"It's natural. It's something that you're born with. And it comes from playing this game over time. It's just something you can't teach. It's guys knowing where the ball's at, knowing how to read the quarterback and knowing that there's only one football on the field, so they just watch it."
On how much he studies the game:"This is a full-time job, so if you want to be great, if you want to be good at it, even as you get older in your career, the film study is what separates you from the guys who don't do that stuff."
On what he looks for when he studies film:"There's more to it. There are tendencies with certain players. It might be an O-lineman one game or it might be a running back another game that gives you tips on whether or not it's going to be a run or a pass or any kind of trick play. You're looking for any little detail to give you the hint on what it's going to be."
On the rookies looking up to him:"It's good to know you have that respect, but I used to watch those guys too. [Tom] Zbikowski returned the kicks and everything at Notre Dame, but just being able to relate to those guys, taking heed to what you say to them, to know that you can help them out is a real good thing."
On dealing with his injury:"I'm going to have to take it day by day, see how it feels. If something was to happen, I would much rather it happen in preseason. Preseason is preseason. But preseason is beneficial when it comes to game action."
On teammate CB Frank Walker: "Frank is a fun-loving guy, a kid. Frank is a good guy, you know you get a guy who's going to be in your face, going to press you up. And like Leon Phelps, he's a ladies' man."
On if he and Walker are two different extremes:"I'm not much of a talker on the field, but if it comes down to it, I'm going to back my boy and I'm going to do what I've got to do."
On his excitement for getting out and working with the defense: "I was very excited. Just looking at the talent we have from the jumpstart. All the guys coming together is a great thing."
On practicing today, with many of the veterans off:"It's work, man; it's quiet today, man. The old guys aren't here. I guess I should say I'm one of those guys, too. Those guys are getting treatment, getting some time to get their legs back up."
On the importance of him participating in practice: "Yeah, I haven't been practicing. It's a good thing for me to be working out – working out in the secondary, making our checks, getting our communication going."
On how long he has been studying film:"I was watching film in high school. I didn't know how I could get as in-depth as I am now. College was another thing. Coach [Randy] Shannon was teaching me things. Coach Pagano was teaching me how to watch film when I was young at Miami, and then coming here and working with a veteran team – Ray Lewis, sitting down with him – that's just something that keeps getting better over time."
On playing with other University of Miami alums:"It's a certain respect, but it's a great thing to know that we're still being looked at to have great talent, which we do down there. Looking at the young guy coming in, Tavares [Gooden], and having a good time watching him run up and down the field, it kind of brings you back to those days when you were at Miami. Just having those guys around who you can relate to."
On if the defense has changed:"No, nothing at all. Nothing has changed. We're still running the same types of things."
WR Derrick Mason
On older players getting a day off:"I'm not 30. I believe my birth certificate lied. It says I'm over 30, but I'm 28 (laughter). It works out well for us, for the guys who are 30 and over. It gives the guys time to rest and get rejuvenated for a day so they can come back out there mentally fresh."
On CB Frank Walker:"He's a trash talker. The guy talks trash all the time. But what you've got to do with Frank is you've got to talk trash back, because if you talk trash back you kind of get him out of his game a little bit. But he's a good player. I like the way he plays. He talks a lot of trash but he backs it up, also. And if you're not mentally tough, he can turn the game quick. So I like to have him on my team."
On Willis McGahee's absence from the running game:"We continue to move on. Willis is a big part of our offense, but right now it's preseason. We expect him back for the first game of the season against Cincinnati. But Ray [Rice] has been doing a great job. Cory [Ross] has been doing a great job. He's gotten in there, and [Allen Patrick] has gotten in there also. Those guys as a unit have been doing a great job. Coach Wilbert [Montgomery] has been doing a great job coaching, and they're just playing football. I'm really impressed with what Rice has been able to do in a short amount of time. He just keeps moving."
On which young receivers have been stepping up:"All of them. You see bits and pieces here and there. I think with a young wideout, you have to be consistent. You have to be every practice, not every other practice. They're making progress. It's not like they're taking steps back. The good part about it is they're taking steps forward. And we need them in as wide receivers, because we've had injuries the last couple of years. So you want those younger guys to learn quickly. The quicker they learn, it makes it easier on us. I think you have three very good wideouts in [Mark] Clayton, [Demetrius] Williams and myself, and if you throw those young guys in the mix, we can be a very good passing team if everybody stays healthy."
On the quarterback competition:"Hey, you wouldn't want it any other way as a quarterback. You want it to be tough; you don't want anything to come to you easy. And I think that the three guys that we have have been able to go out there and make progress each and every practice. I don't know who the frontrunner is right now, but I do know that on any given day, one guy can look good and you say that he's the starter, and the next day another guy can look good and you say he's the starter, then the next guy. All three quarterbacks have been going out there and playing and just having fun. They're not worried about who is up front. Their main purpose is to drop back and deliver the ball where it's supposed to be, and they've been doing that."
On who he has the best chemistry among the quarterbacks:"All of them. I'm not going to say one over the other. But of course Kyle [Boller] and I have been together the longest. He was here when I first got here four years ago. But I've developed a rapport* *with Troy [Smith] since he was in there a lot at the end of the  season, and I'm becoming really familiar with Joe [Flacco]. So the more and more those guys get to play and the more and more I'm out there with them, that chemistry will get a lot better. Not just with me but with the other guys out there, too."
On the offensive unit as a whole:"I think it's important for all of us to be an important piece of the puzzle. Because once you start taking pieces out of the puzzle, you can't finish it up. We need Demetrius back, we need Willis back. We need [Jared] Gaither and Adam Terry back. Those guys are a part of the puzzle. It's going to be hard to rally and move forward and really play the type of football that we need to play if those guys aren't out there on a consistent basis."
On wanting the ball:"All of us want the ball. All the receivers want the ball. I've been at this 12 years, and I'm not going to shy away from saying that I want the ball. Yeah, I want the ball just like Clayton wants the ball, just like Demetrius wants the ball, Todd [Heap] wants the ball, Willis wants the ball. We just feel that we have guys out there that can make plays. And if you're a guy who can make plays, why wouldn't you want the ball? That's what you're playing this game for. That's what they're paying you money for is to go out there and want the ball and make plays. It's not just me. We have a bunch of guys out there that deserve the ball and that want the ball."
On what stands out to him about QB Troy Smith:"I think a leadership role. That's been the biggest part with Troy. He realizes that he has a great opportunity to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, and not too many people can say that. So I think his leadership abilities have really shown – especially during this two-a-day camp. He showed up towards the end of the year last year, but he's really matured as a player during this short amount of time. The guy's always been a leader, always been a winner. I watched him at Ohio State. All he did was win. He wants to get back to that – back to being that winner, being that leader. I don't see why that can't happen here."
On if he's excited for the Madden '09 release tonight at midnight:"Nah, that doesn't excite me. I'll buy it, because I'm on it (laughter). I can show my son later on in life and show him that dad really did play. But other than that, I can play it, but I really can't play it. Not against these guys. They're really skilled. But I'll buy it. It's an honor to be on a type of game like that. So I'll buy it, leave it in the wrapper, and just let it sit until my son cracks it open and decides to play it."
On if they rated him well as a player on the video game:"I don't know; each year changes. So I don't know what Madden decided to rate me, but I guarantee you it's probably very underrated."