Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "Good to see you guys. I appreciate you being here. As you can see, it's like half a madhouse out here right now. Fans are everywhere! We have the Special Olympians right over here having a great time interacting with the players. Yesterday, we had the first responders here, police, fire, EMS and their families. That was fun. We wanted to honor them, and the timing was very good. We had a big crowd today. We had a great practice against the Jaguars. [It was] another great practice – hot, tough, very physical practice on both sides of the ball. We got a lot done. They got a lot done. Hats off to Coach [Doug] Marrone and the whole Jaguar organization. I thought they were very classy. Everything was very professional on both sides. We got our work done. We respected one another. It was good."
Did you get everything done that you wanted to in these joint practices? (Pete Gilbert)"I think so. You never get everything done the way you want it to get done. We attempted to get everything done, but all the things that we have to work on … It's really good tape. We get to go in there and watch some tape, and study it with the guys and try to get better."
How challenging is it for you, with so much going on, as far as evaluating players and getting organized? (Todd Karpovich) "It's really challenging. I haven't gotten through all of the tape from yesterday, thanks to [executive vice president of public & community relations] Kevin [Byrne]. Really, it's his fault. He had so many things for me to do today. (laughter)You're coaching the guys, we have meetings going on, and we have all this peripheral stuff going on. That's why we don't sleep sometimes. But you love it. It's fun. This atmosphere right here … I'm looking over the cameras' shoulders, and to see all of our players, Jaguars players, too, all of our fans, the Special Olympics, kids, it just blows me away. It's like a carnival out here. It's really awesome."
There were a couple of dustups out there. Do you almost expect that two days before playing an opponent, especially in the heat? (Shawn Stepner) "Yes, it's not all sunshine and roses. It's competitive out there. The fact that those things didn't escalate … There were a couple of guys talking, on two plays, the whole practice. We pretty quickly pulled them apart. Nobody wants to be the first guy to walk away. I thought everybody kept their discipline very well."
We got to see a play that TE Mark Andrews made in double coverage. It was truly spectacular. Does that really get your juices going? (Pete Gilbert)"Making plays is really the thing. When it's all said and done, all the scheme, everything we do, it's going to come down to whether the player makes the play or not, in the end. So, when you see players make plays in an environment like that, it's good."
Have you decided how much you're going to play QB Lamar Jackson and your starters on Thursday? (Ken Weinman) "We haven't dialed it in exactly. We have a meeting tonight on all of that where we'll dial it in exactly. I have my ideas on it. I think I know, but we'll talk about it as a staff and figure it out and get a plan together."
How have you seen QB Trace McSorley grow, and what do you expect to see from him on Thursday? (Aaron Kasinitz) "He's throwing really well. He had a really good practice until the end. He had the pick in the two-minute [drill]. He expected the receiver to do something different than he did, and then Lamar [Jackson] got the balled tipped. Credit to the Jaguars' defense for making those plays. But throughout the practice, we completed tons of passes. Trace looks sharp."
Is there anything, specifically, you'll be looking for from QB Trace McSorley on Thursday? (Aaron Kasinitz) "I'm looking for him to move the ball, move the team, score points, make a tackle or two on special teams. Just do it all. We're not putting any limitations on Trace."
I know joint practices help the quarterback, but how does seeing an opposing defense help you?_ (Jordan Schatz)_"That is exactly right. You see different defenses. You see different schemes. You see different speeds and talent. Everything is different. It's still football, but the nuances of it are different. Every team has its own way of doing things, and it's so good for the quarterback to see that."
Is the decision on which quarterback to play in Game One different than in years past because of QB Lamar Jackson wanting to get reps? Does that factor in? (Jeff Zrebiec)"It definitely factors in. That's definitely part of it, no question."
Running Backs Coach Matt Weiss
What are your impressions of the running back group overall? (Garrett Downing) "It's a great group, a lot of diversity. It's the strength of the group – they have a lot of different skills. Obviously, Mark [Ingram II] is a huge addition for us. I love his versatility. I think he's probably the most complete back in the NFL in terms of his ability to execute any run scheme, to pass-protect, to run routes out of the backfield, split him out and run routes. There's not a play in football that you wouldn't want to run with Mark. And I think you guys know this, too, but he's a great person. We all know it's not church camp. It's pro football, but at the same time, character matters, and when your best players are great people, it makes the rest of your guys better, and I see that in our room.
"I see a group of future stars, with Gus [Edwards], 'K.D.' [Kenneth Dixon], De'Lance [Turner], Tyler [Ervin], Justice [Hill] – everybody except for Justice has played in regular season NFL games. They're guys who are capable of hitting second and third contracts. For them to learn from a guy like Mark is huge, both in terms of by example, and, in a very humble way, he gives them wisdom. I'm just really pleased with the whole group. I saw 'The Lion King' before camp started, and I would say Mark definitely has some Mufasa-like qualities, so maybe we'll call him Mufasa. The only drawback of Mark being here is we have too many 'Marks.' There's Mark Andrews, Mark Ingram. They say you can never have too many good players. It's definitely true, but we have maybe too many good 'Marks.' You can say, 'Throw the ball to Mark. Hey Mark, he's your guy in pass protection,' They're both on the field, that gets pretty confusing, so maybe we'll go with 'Mufasa.' See if that sticks. Yes, I appreciate it."
There's pretty fierce competition among the running backs trying to make the roster. How does that change the dynamic of the guys who are starting to separate themselves? (Todd Karpovich) "I think they've done a really good job of working together, and I think having that diversity of skillsets kind of helps them work together even better, just from the standpoint of Gus [Edwards] as a downhill, power runner, the punishing type of runner, who you watch the film, and you tell me who is hitting who. And, that's kind of his specialty. Then, you have Justice [Hill], who is a complete change of pace – fast guy, different type of speed. You have 'K.D.' [Kenneth Dixon], who has probably the most pure talent as a runner of the group. You have Tyler Ervin, who is extremely athletic. He's played receiver in this league, he's played tailback in this league; I think he could play corner, too. He's that type of athlete, and his path to making this team is to be the punt returner, and he knows that. And then, you have De'Lance [Turner], who was up on the active roster before Gus and played special teams for us and played well. They all kind of are on a different journey, and those journeys don't really cross. They're helping each other, and they're doing a great job."
What are your impressions of RB Justice Hill, and where has he made his biggest strides? (Ryan Mink) "I'm very pleased with Justice. If Mark is Mufasa, he's probably Simba, and not in the sense that we're going to crown him or anoint him in any way. If you want to crown him, I'll go Denny Green on you, so don't do that. (laughter) I just mean in the sense that every once in a while, he'll go where we tell him not to. He'll run into a pack of hyenas on defense, but he has a very bright future with the Ravens, for sure. He's extremely fast; he can catch the ball. The thing that I've been really happy with is he's really taken to the way we teach pass protection. He's been very stout, very physical. He's very tough. I think he's going to be able to do that, which was, for any undersized guy, a big question mark. His future is bright, and it's really our job as coaches, my job, to get him there sooner rather than later. But, his future is going to be very bright."
Do you sense a difference in RB Kenneth Dixon this year, and which way is it? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Like I alluded to before, I think he's, as a runner, the most pure, talented guy we have, which says a lot, because we have some talented guys. The thing that has hurt him in the past has been a lot of stuff outside of his control. The best ability is availability sometimes, and right now he's doing a great job just controlling the things he can control, and he's done a great job learning the new offense. He's done a great job of being in shape and being ready, and I'm just really happy with the work he's doing and where he's at."
Where has RB Gus Edwards made strides this year? (Jordan Schatz) "I'd say Gus is probably the most improved player of the group. Good eye, there. He's catching the ball very well. His pass protection, which was something we really didn't ask him to do last year, has been very good, and I can't wait to see him do it in the preseason games, see how that goes. Those two areas have been great. And then, at the end of the day, he knows he still has to be the downhill, punishing runner that he is, and he will be. And, the other thing I'd say about Gus is that he's probably the hardest working guy, one of the hardest working players, I've ever been around. He comes to work every day, and it's just all business. He does everything that's asked and then some, and that really pays off. If you're a fan of old-school Ravens football and a punishing run game and hard work and that's what you're about, you should get a Gus Edwards jersey, because that's what he's about. I've been really impressed with him."
RB Gus Edwards
On playing against another team in joint practices: "It was great. I feel like the run game really came together today. These last two days, we really took a step forward. Just getting ahead against other people, seeing a different front, I think we got some good work in with that new front."
On how well he is picking up the new offensive scheme: "It's just like building off where we ended up last year. There are a lot of things we're doing the same, but we just made little changes here and there."
On his impression of RB Mark Ingram II and what he has instilled:"He's a leader out there. He helps me. He coaches me. Pretty much after every play, he'll come in and tell me what I can do better. For instance, yesterday we ran 'power.' He told me to try to stay square a little bit more. It's been great having him in the group. He's been a leader to us."
On how different this year is for him in comparison to his rookie year:"I feel like I'm still fighting to get myself a role on the team. I'm just ready to do whatever the coaches ask me to do."
On if there is a lot of competition within the running backs room:"Yes, but I don't expect anything less than it being a whole lot of competition. We make each other better that way."
On the importance of having a stable running back group, whether the Ravens run or pass more often this season: "I think we definitely have a stable group. We're ready. We have what it takes to be ready to run the ball. A lot of people are going to be surprised with how much better we are in the passing game."
DE Willie Henry
On how he feels compared to previous years, and if he thinks he has taken strides from the past:"I do. I feel very good out there. The coaches, my teammates, the new teammates we got, it's all about catching the rhythm, and I feel like we're doing a great job reading each other, feeling each other during practice, just trying to become perfectionists in this sport that is very hard to do. We're just out here working every day to be great, myself especially, trying to make sure I'm as strong, as fast and as good as I can be."
On how eager he is to practice again after suffering an injury last season:"I'm very eager. I feel like I might have had, what, 30, 40 snaps last year? Not enough. I need to be out there. I love playing this sport so much, going out there and competing. I'm just very, very eager to get out there with those guys – 'Peanut' [Patrick Onwuasor], [Matthew] Judon, those guys I missed a lot of snaps with. Even those guys like 'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs] and 'Z' [Za'Darius Smith], I missed those guys, and I'm going to miss dearly. But I'm just ready to get out there and play Raven football."
On pushes and shoves after the whistle vs. the Jaguars:"It's just football. People get tangled up. Maybe they're doing a little more pushing after the whistle than necessary, but we're all out here trying to get better. Jacksonville these last two days did a great job of practicing with us, and also, I give my guys credit on the Baltimore Ravens for doing a great job practicing. We had a little scrum, but we have that during our own practices, so it's just something natural that comes with the game."
On what OLB Pernell McPhee brings to the team:"'Phee' [McPhee] is a whole different character. After him being here, he already knows the Raven way. He won a Super Bowl here. He knows what 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] wants, he knows what the defense needs for us to be successful. He's played on a successful defense, he played with successful players, Hall of Fame players and Pro Bowlers. 'Phee' just brings in that special talent that you don't see every Sunday, or a guy you can bring in and bring that helps and versatility to play inside or out."
On how he would characterize OLB Matthew Judon's personality:"Matthew, to me, is probably the biggest character on the team. Me and Judon go way back to rookie year, when he and I were roommates as rookies. So, I got to get to know Judon very, very well, and I'd say Judon just is one of the characters on the team that you just love or you hate. (laughter) But, I love him to death. I fight with him and I laugh with him every day."(Reporter: "Does he remind you of Terrell Suggs?") "See, like I said, I only had three years with Suggs, so I didn't get the young Suggs. I didn't get the rowdy Suggs. I kind of got the mature, 14, 15, 16-year Suggs who had been around the system, understood the dos and the don'ts, how to get on [John] Harbaugh's good side. (laughter) So, Judon is still trying to figure those ropes out. It's fun being there around him while he does that. But, it's just great being around Judon, and I would say a lot of people who were here would say he kind of reminds them of Suggs. But I would say they're a little different in my books."
On what family and friends in his hometown of Cleveland who haven't seen him in a few years say when they see him:"They say a lot of stuff. One, they talk about me cutting my hair all the time. They talk about how much weight I lost since I got to the league, which is tremendous, and I feel better out there moving around on the field with those guys. Because, like I said earlier, I feel like a better me. I can help the Ravens become stronger, definitely, when it comes to pass rushing and stuffing the runs on the first- and second-down plays. I just feel like, me going out here and losing the weight that I lost, being stronger in the weight room with those guys in there helping me get stronger … I just feel like it was overall a good offseason. These past couple years without me being on the field …" (Reporter: "How much weight did you lose?") "I probably walked in as a Raven maybe 303 [pounds] at the Combine, and I'm probably about 285 right now."
C Matt Skura
On how it feels to begin another season as a starter: "So far, I definitely feel comfortable being back in the starting role. Last year was huge for me, not only starting all the regular season games, but getting a playoff game in as well. That was huge for our whole offensive line. This year, it's about refining my technique, doing the things that I feel more comfortable doing. Learning a lot from the film from last year is big for me, seeing the things that I can improve on and using those and working on them in practice. This is the time to try new things out, to see if some things might work, some might not. You just try to refine everything."
On if it feels good going into training camp to know that he will be a starter:"For sure, but I know I have people right behind me trying to take that spot as well. I have to push myself, too, knowing that I want to be one of the best centers in the conference and in the league. I take every day and make sure that I'm trying to find something to improve on. Going against Jacksonville has been great for that. I'm still pushing myself and making sure to solidify that role."
On his snap exchanges with QB Lamar Jackson:"It's been going really well. This year, we've taken that emphasis to a whole new level. This year, when they do seven-on-seven pass drills, either me or one of the other centers are down there taking snaps. We do snaps before practice. Sometimes, we'll do snaps after practice. That helps to create muscle memory for Lamar and me. It's a comfort thing. I think we've been really emphasizing it, and it's been helping a lot."
On if a staffer was previously doing snaps in seven-on-seven drills:"Yes, it was just one of the equipment guys. We had to be doing one-on-one pass rush or individual, and now, the centers go down there with all the rest of the guys, with Lamar [Jackson] and the receivers, so we can snap and work on our sets against air. It's good, because that's who Lamar is going to be seeing – me, 'Boze' [Bradley Bozeman] – and all the other quarterbacks, too. It's been good for everyone."
On what self-punishment he imposes if the snap is bad: "We haven't, yet. In college, I used to do a thing called, 'lame dogs.' It was like a bear crawl, except you're only using one leg instead of two. I used to do, like, 20 yards of lame dogs per bad snap. I don't know if I want to get back into that, yet. (laughter) I might have to, just to keep myself good. There used to be a punishment system."
On how the offensive line has picked up the terminology in the new offensive scheme, and if that has been challenging: "It really hasn't [been challenging]. A lot of the terms, we kind of categorized it, and we chunked it. So, 'We're going to do these five to 10 words.' We'll do that for a week. And we've been doing this since OTAs and football school, so that helps, too. We'll do five to 10 words one day, and then the next day, we'll add. We'll keep on adding and adding. We've just been repping it a ton. Also, when we're in the huddle and we have some of these one-word plays, we remind each other of what they are, making sure we're all on the same page. We want to go fast, and we have to get up to the line quickly. So, we're also reminding each other."
On his thoughts on G Ben Powers and G Jermaine Eluemunor:"Both have been doing a really good job fighting for that starting [left guard] spot. For Ben, as a rookie, things are going a million miles an hour. You're trying to learn the playbook, trying to get up to NFL speed and just trying to figure out what kind of techniques work for you. That's been the biggest thing for Ben, and I think he's shown a lot of progress. I'm really excited for his future. Jermaine, he's a vet. He's been doing a good job as well. It's going to be interesting seeing how both of those two guys play out going into the preseason. I'm excited."