Transcript: Training Camp Report Day

DE Calais Campbell

On how he feels about heading into training camp: "Yes, I feel good about it. I believe this year is going to be a special year. The expectations are high, and so it's just kind of like the excitement – like the first day of school. [I'm] ready to be back and go through the process, the grind. There's a price to pay, as we like to say, but we believe that the reward is sweet on the other end. So, it's really just taking it one day at a time, embracing the grind and becoming a family."

On the COVID-19 protocols: "Yes, I think the biggest thing is just trying to make sure that we don't have any big outbreaks and keeping the game safe. The process and all that stuff has kind of been a process. But the biggest thing is that I think 85% of the league is vaccinated. I believe this team is even higher than that. And so, the majority of the guys are going to be able to have the proper protocols. But for the few who feel strongly against it or chose not to get vaccinated, being in the NFLPA – being an executive committee member – my job is to protect them, give them all the rights they can. So, I do the best I can in that department, but at the end of the day, the main goal is just to be able to play a football season in the way that we're used to, with fans involved and just be able to play a full 17-game schedule – which is crazy – and then have a Super Bowl."

On what he's focused on physically: "Honestly, just trying to be as healthy as possible. Right now, I feel great – flexibility, mobility, being strong. [I've been doing] kind of the same thing I've been doing. Last year was a unique year – just the limitations on the people you can be around and stuff with COVID-19, leading into the season. It definitely was a unique year for myself and where I'm at in my career, but this year is back to normal, and I feel great, excited. I'm ready to go. I think it's going to be a big year."

On if an extra game changes anything: "I think the biggest thing is embracing it. It's there. It's not going anywhere. The good thing is you can probably get an opportunity to get some more stats – build the stat book. But real talk, it's football – if it's 17 games [or] 16 games. Hopefully, we get to play a few more games in the playoffs. We can make it up on the back end by getting a first-round bye if we can get to that level. So, the biggest thing though is just taking it one game at a time. But nothing changes. The grind is going to be the same – just one more game to go through."

On how he's handling the discussion around COVID-19 vaccinations with players: "People are grown men. They make a decision that's best for them, based off the information they have. If they ask me for advice, I give them the advice that I have. I'm not an expert by any means. I have access to people who are considered experts in a sense, and if they want to talk to any of them, I can put them in touch with them. But the biggest thing is, 'To each their own.' I would like for people to be whatever makes them feel comfortable. I'm a fan of the vaccination. I got it for myself, and I will encourage a guy if I think that he wants to get vaccinated, to get more information, and if he doesn't, that's fine. And as a player rep or an 'E.C.' [executive committee of NFLPA] member, I'm going to protect him to make sure that they have all the rules and the same setup as everybody else. But at the end of the day, I'm going to let a person be a grown man and make a decision. Now, I will be – like I said – a beacon for information. So, I'll try to give them as much information as possible, if they want it."

On if he's noticed anything different about QB Lamar Jackson this offseason: "I think it's more of just reassurance of what I kind of already knew. You can tell he's a hard worker, tough, smart and just has an edge to him. He's just a young man, getting better each and every day. Each year, he's going to make big leaps and become probably one of the best players to ever play the game. It's fun to see his development, and I'm excited to see what steps he takes this year. But he's becoming such a wiser player each and every day, like everybody else. That's the nature of the business, nature of the game. If I knew back then, what I know now, 'Whew,' who knows? But that's just how it goes. With time comes a lot of knowledge and wisdom." 

On if the urgency to win a Super Bowl is even greater this year, given where he's at in his career and the talent on the team: "Yes sir, if I'm being honest. We're too talented; we're deep. This team is just set up perfectly to make a run. Now, obviously, it's hard to do, and every team wants it. There are other teams out there that've got just as much talent and great players, as well, so it's going to be a battle, but there's no excuse. We have everything it takes, and so it really comes down to execution, taking it one day at a time and earning the right."

On if he set any personal goals for himself this offseason: "Yes, I set personal goals for myself. I think it's important to set goals, in order for you to have the opportunity … Usually, I don't always share those, but I think at this point in time in my career, the main goal has always been – and even when I was younger – the main goal has always been the team goal – to get that jewelry and to hold that trophy. And I always told myself I want to be a Super Bowl MVP. That's kind of always been a goal of mine. But honestly though, this year, which is a very unique year, I'm eight sacks away from 100, and that's something that's always been my goal, so I will share that one. This year, I want to get over that 100 mark. It's definitely a lofty goal; I've got over eight sacks [in a season] in my career probably like five times – something like that. So, it's not easy, but I put myself in position, I feel really good about it, and this will be a good year to go out there and make it happen."

On if the front office solicited his opinion regarding offseason moves and what he thinks about the new additions: "No, they didn't solicit my opinion, but we have a great front office. They do an incredible job. I mean, they brought me here, so I think very highly of them. (laughter) But yes, some of the guys we brought in on offense, especially on the offensive line, were big-time moves. I think we drafted very well. Some of these young kids, you see their potential, you see their hunger, their ability to learn and accept teaching. You'd think that they're going to be good players; it's just a matter of time. It's not if, but when, for most of these guys. And so, hopefully, you can just celebrate that learning curve and they can be really good for us this year. We'll see. That's just kind of how it goes. But we have a lot of young talent, and then we brought in some really, really quality players – some veterans – on the offensive line that I think are going to make a big difference for us."

TE Mark Andrews

On goals for the season and the attitudes coming into the season: "Good question. I think right now, there's obviously a bunch of excitement. Any time this year, there's that excitement around the building. It's just fun to be here. We had a great OTAs. So, I know for us, we're excited to build upon that [and] excited to get better. This is where, as a team, you kind of find out what you're about and what you're made of and what the year is going to be about. So, I'm excited to build, become a team, play together and go through this grind together, because this is what it's all about. This is what's going to make us."

On if there is a much better sense of what the season will be like after last season: "I think you can already kind of see the differences. We know we have the stadium [practice open to fans], bleachers around the field. We're able to be out here and talk to you guys [in the media], which is awesome. So, just those things that you're kind of accustomed to are going to be great to have. So, the season is definitely going to look different. I'm excited about it. I'm excited to have fans – I think that's a part of football. Just for things to get sort of back to normal is really relieving, to be honest with you."

On TE Josh Oliver: "Josh [Oliver] has done a really good job. He's done a really good job of getting in here, learning the plays. He's an extremely athletic dude, a really big dude and he can move well. So, I'm excited for him. There's a lot of competition going on in the room right now. So, all those guys – they're all competing, everybody in there. [Tight ends] Coach Bobby Engram is doing a great job of getting them right."

On how prepared the passing game is compared to previous seasons after the work they put in during the offseason: "I think the work has been awesome. That's a great question. I think OTAs is a great … I think it's undervalued, especially in terms of the passing game. Obviously, we didn't have [OTAs] last year. Just the guys … The chemistry is there. You can tell that we're all bought in. We're all on the same page. Everyone wants to be here. Everyone wants to be great, and that's the beautiful thing about this organization is we're all striving to a certain goal. We're all moving in that same direction. We all have that same mindset. All these receivers, all these tight ends, all the coaches, everybody is bought in on that. So, we're ready to go, for sure."

On how a full offseason has affected WR Marquise Brown: "Yes, he's extremely motivated. I know 'Hollywood' [Marquise Brown] is … He's a guy who has always been motivated, but just being able to work this offseason with him, I've been able to spend a lot of time with him, and it's been awesome just to see where he's at. He's going to be ready to go. He's such a dangerous player. I think he's the type of player that's going to shock-the-world-type of thing."

On his experience at "Tight End U": "Yes, 'Tight End U.' Great question, I like that question. It was an awesome experience. I think we had 50 guys, 50 tight ends. Just being able to get around those guys, meet and put numbers and faces together … You watch so much film on them, so to be able to finally meet those guys, there were a lot of good talks and a lot of good meetings. Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, Greg Olsen, George Kittle, obviously, and a couple other guys, and they all had really, really good points that are things I'm going to take with me throughout my years and hopefully can improve my game. So, it was an awesome experience and I'm excited for more years to come."

On if his goals for this season are similar to last year's: "For me, it's again … I want [us] to all be moving in the same direction and same goal, which we are, which is a beautiful thing and just get better. Just get better and better each and every day, take this training camp and try to be the best player that I can be for this team and try to help Lamar [Jackson] out and 'G-Ro' [offensive coordinator Greg Roman] and all the play-callers out that I can do. So, I don't have too many set goals, but again, I'm just going to try to be the best teammate and best player that I can be for this team."

On if TE Nick Boyle is anxious to return to the field: "He's such a hard worker, Nick [Boyle] is. So, he's been working hard since his injury. He's been doing a great job of getting back to it as soon as he can. He's the type of guy who's going to come back stronger. So, I'm excited for him."

On if he believes he should be mentioned among the top tight ends more frequently: "Obviously, there are a lot of great tight ends in this league. I'm still a young player. I've done a good amount, but I try not to look too much into ratings and who rates me where and all that type of stuff – that's just not who I am. I say I'm 'Top 5,' but that's just more of kind of a mantra and what I believe in – having that belief in yourself type of thing. But again, there are a lot of great tight ends. I feel like I'm in the upper echelon of those types of guys, but I still have a lot to prove and I'm ready to do that."

OLB Tyus Bowser

On how he's been: "I've been good. I'm back in the building, back in Maryland. It feels good to be back out here with the guys, and [I'm] just excited to get started."

On what the defense is building on from last season: "Just really communicating together; just making sure we're on one accord, as far as what's needed to be done on the field. Just communicating on defense; just different calls, assignments, things needed just overall as a defensive group. We're all athletes, we're all great players, we all play fast – that's always going to be our mentality. But it's mainly just being a great communicator out there with each and everybody, so we're on one accord, so we can just play fast."

On how he's guiding rookie OLBs Odafe Oweh and Daelin Hayes: "Just embracing the moment. This is the toughest time, right now, just trying to grind it out for a whole month of training camp. And just really going out there embracing the moment, being around the guys, working hard and just learning from the vets. And then really just showcasing your skills. We're all out here to get a job, and those guys are definitely talented, and they're going to do great things for us. So, just really going out here, taking advantage of the moment and taking advantage of each and every day when we're out there."

On if he enjoys being the guy giving advice: "In some cases, yes. I hate to be the guy now that is leading the young guys, when I was just a young guy not too long ago. But I'm definitely excited about the moment; definitely excited about being around a great bunch of young guys who want to learn, who want to get better as players and also as [people], too. Just being a guy that they can talk to outside of the field. So, it's a great moment, and I'm excited about it."

On his personal goals this year: "Personally, I like to keep them to myself, but I definitely want to be a Pro Bowler this year, and I'll just keep it at that."

On if he believes DE Calais Campbell has something to prove this season: "I mean, it's kind of hard to say that he had a fluke year. He went out there and balled out last year, and he's a guy who is going to come with the same mentality each and every year – to dominate – and obviously, you've seen that over the past decade or so that he's been in the league. His mindset hasn't changed, and he's going to come out here tomorrow, having a rookie mentality – to come out here and prove himself, come out here and show these guys that he still has it. And it's great to see that, especially from a veteran guy who's proved himself, who's going to be a future Hall of Famer – to come out with a mindset that he's coming in fresh, he's coming in to prove himself again. So, it's great to see."

On if it feels different to come into training camp with a long-term contract: "Not too much. Of course, you're going into Year Five; you've been around the building enough; you've been around everybody inside, and you get that feeling of you feeling like a vet – that you know what's coming as far as with training camp. But overall, I just keep the same mentality of just trying to prove myself each and every year. Regardless of what your contract is or who you are, you've got guys coming in that are coming to take your job, and I understand that. I'm coming with the mentality to come out here and work hard each and every day."

On how he feels about people questioning the team's ability to generate a pass rush: "I mean, at the end of the day, you can … Me, the guys in the locker room, we can just go out there and just play our game and focus on us. Everybody can have what they want to say about us, and that's totally fine. Everybody has their own opinion, and sometimes it's going to be good, sometimes it's going to be bad. But regardless, we've got to go out there on the field and produce. The most important thing is coming out with the win, at the end of the day, and that's all we're focused on. And of course, as players, we're going to work on our game, we're going to work on pass rushing or dropping [in coverage] or catching the ball – whatever it is. But as far as the aspect of pass rushing, we're just going to go out here and take advantage of the moment that we have to work on our pass rushing, and we're going to show it on the field. So, we're just going to leave it at that and just try to come out with wins. That's all that matters to us."

On the importance of the interior pass rush to the group's success: "It's very important. When you talk about the defensive line, everybody's got to work on one accord to get to the quarterback; it can't just be one specific person. Everybody's not an Aaron Donald or just anybody else, but as far as with us being a young group – guys who are hungry – we've just got to work on one accord, work together as a defensive line to just communicate. Like I said, we're a young group; we've got to communicate, and that's part of getting to the quarterback. [In the] interior, we have great guys who can get to the quarterback, that can push the pocket, and we have guys on the outside that can bend around the edge. And once you figure that out, you get everybody on one accord, that's when you start putting in stats, that's when the numbers start coming around. So, it's just all about communication and the chemistry part – just getting together and being on one accord."

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