Transcripts: Day Five of Training Camp

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: "Great to see everybody – thanks for coming. I really appreciate you guys being here. It's a beautiful day, a hot day, hot, hot. It's great for us. We open up against Miami at 1 o'clock down there, not that we're thinking about that, yet. The guys did a good job. I'm very pleased with them. We'll have meetings and a walk-through the rest of the day, and then they'll have the day off tomorrow. It will be their first day off in training camp. Then, we'll be back at it on Wednesday morning."

Do you expect to have another quarterback in here by Wednesday? (Ken Weinman) "Yes, definitely. We will have one here, for sure."

G/T Jermaine Eluemunor and CB Tavon Young have been out for the last few days. Do you have any updates on them? (Aaron Kasinitz) "No, they're just minor [issues]. It's muscle issues that they have to get right. I kind of expect them both back after the day off, but we'll see."

How do you think the players are battling through the grind of training camp? (Jamison Hensley)"I feel like the players are handling it very well. We have been grinding. As Anthony Levine said when he broke the huddle today, 'This was a dog day.' Our guys fought through it. We didn't have any muscle issues. We had guys playing fast and competing. We got a lot done."

Sometimes tempers flare up on hot days in training camp. How do you handle that? (Jamison Hensley)"Was that a fight, really? I don't know if that's in the category of a fight. Tempers are going to flare. It's the dog days. You're going to have moments. When it gets over the top, which is really my judgement, then you take whatever action is appropriate. In that case, it was a 15-yard penalty. I did it on the offense because I saw the offensive player punch the defensive player in the face. I was informed later that the defensive player punched him in the face first. I missed it, often like the officials do. (laughter) So, that's what I told them. I said, 'What we're practicing out here is what we're going to do in games.' What we're going to do in games is allow our opponents to make those kinds of mistakes and avoid those mistakes ourselves. So, that's the point."

We saw TE Mark Andrews and G/C Matt Skura doing some extra running laps. Were those pre-snap penalties? (Bo Smolka) "Yes, those were pre-snap penalties."

Are you looking at multiple quarterbacks, or do you know who is going to be the guy? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I'm focusing on practice and watching the tape right now. In all honesty, I've been informed of what we're doing, but what difference does it make? There will be a guy in here on Wednesday, and he'll be really good. If he's really, really good, he'll have a chance to make the team. You never know. That's football."

When you see players drop the football out here, fans start to boo. Do you, as a coaching staff, see those as critical mistakes, as the media portrays them? (Kyle Barber) "You're going to have some dropped passes and some missed assignments and guys who are going to jump offsides when you're preparing. I guess we could be like a Broadway play. You would never see the rehearsal, just the play. But this is sports. You get to watch it all here, which is pretty cool. So, that's part of the process. It's probably better for the kids to come out and see that these guys aren't perfect, and that they have to work really hard to be really good at what they do. Maybe that's a plus."

Have you seen any separation amongst the young outside linebackers? (Aaron Kasinitz)"I would say no. They're all playing well. Tyus [Bowser] and Timmy [Tim Williams], to mention those few guys, because you mentioned the young guys, are both playing very well. I'm very encouraged by the way they're playing. The proof will be in the pudding over the next 10 days, two weeks. We will probably have separation at that point."

With the national political dialogue going on about Baltimore this week, do you have any comments? (Jonas Shaffer)"I was waiting for that [question]. I knew someone was going to ask that. You're the guy. (laughter) I can just tell you this: My wife, my daughter and me, we love Baltimore. More than Baltimore, we love the people in Baltimore. We love the people in Baltimore, everywhere. Maybe it's because Baltimore people love the Ravens so much, but we've felt nothing but love here for the last 11 years. I think all big cities have challenges and problems; it's not unique [to] Baltimore. Our prayer as a family when we go to bed at night sometimes is – it will be from now on, at least – is that the politicians get together and work together. Can you imagine how powerful it would be if the two sides of the aisle, two guys like those two wonderful people, got together and solved some problems and found ways to make things better? That's what we're all rooting for."

Defensive Backs Coach Chris Hewitt

How impressed have you been with your secondary and the guys in the back end? (Ryan Mink)"Like I told the guys when I walked off the field, Rome wasn't built in a day. It's going to take some time for us to become a great secondary. It's all about us building chemistry right now. We have all the tools to become a great secondary, but it's Day Five of camp. It's hard for me to say how good we're going to be or how bad we're going to be, but we have high expectations to do that this year. We'll see what happens."

Knowing that you have so much depth in the secondary, how much does that free you up to be as creative as you want with guys who have a good track record? (Pete Gilbert)"That's true, but what we do have is continuity. We have a lot of guys coming back from last year. And a new guy, being Earl [Thomas III], and we have to get him up to speed. That's that chemistry that I'm talking about, making sure that we're all on the same page. This is a new system for him. Once he gets comfortable in our system, [then] we're really cooking in the things that we want to do. But right now, we're still working on the fundamentals. [We are] still doing all the things that we go through, Phase One, Phase Two, just working our way up. When we get into the season, we'll find out how flexible we really can be as a secondary. But as far as depth is concerned, if I'm any kind of team out there right now, I'd be looking at the Baltimore Ravens. There are going to be some good players that won't make this team."

Once S Earl Thomas III does get comfortable with the defense, what do you see as the biggest benefit of having him on the secondary? (Aaron Kasinitz)"It's kind of like a 'Captain Obvious' question, but Earl is a great player. He's very intense. He's a playmaker. He has all the tools that you want for us to take on that next level, meaning that, last year, we went down a little bit more with our turnovers. We have brought in a guy who is known for picking the ball up, so those are the things that we're expecting from him. We're not necessarily saying that he has to be the guy to line up the defense or try to fool the offense or anything like that. We just need him to go ahead and do his job at a high level."

CB Brandon Carr has seen some looks at safety this week. Is that something that you decided to take a look at because it's camp, or is that something he might transition to? (Bo Smolka)"As far as the transition is concerned, Brandon can still play corner, and he can still play corner at a high level. But the flexibility that we have is that when we play against teams that we have matchup problems with, we always have Brandon, and we can put him in any of those positions. We can play him at safety. We can play him at nickel. So, that consummate pro we're talking about, Brandon knows how to play every position in the back end. He can play nickel. He can play corner. He can play safety. He can play dime whenever we need him. He can play all those positions. He gives us the flexibility to do some things to fool offenses. He's our Swiss Army knife."

You talked about S Earl Thomas III not necessarily having to line up the defense and do all of the disguise work that S Eric Weddle did last year. Do you see yourself employing Earl differently than the way you employed Eric last year? (Ryan Mink)"Not necessarily. The structure of our defense is what it is. We have looks that, pre-snap, are going to try to fool the offense. Everything that Eric [Weddle] did – sometimes he would do some things on his own, but a lot of those things, they were calculated risks when we asked him to do some things. Earl will still be doing some of those things, but he's the kind of guy that, he'll see something, and he just goes and makes a play. I don't want to take away his instincts as a football player, but at the same time, we want him to make sure that he's doing his job within the structure of our defense. He will have those opportunities and those looks to show some things and come back and do something different. So, he will be doing some of those."

S Ed Reed is being inducted into the Hall of Fame next week. What does he mean to the franchise, and what did you see in him that you learned from him? (Kyle Barber)"He's a once-in-a-generation type of player, probably the greatest safety that's ever played this game. He played his best football right here, in Baltimore. He made a lot of game-changing plays, and we won a lot of football games around here because of Ed Reed. As far as you talking about him meaning so much to the franchise, he means the world. He's the standard, which not a lot of people are ever going to get to. Out there in Baltimore, Ed Reed's not coming back. He's a once-in-a-generation player. There will never be another Ed Reed. So, don't think that he's coming back."

As a defensive backs coach, do you have an opinion on the NFL rule change about reviewing pass interferences? (Aaron Kasinitz) "No, we're just going to play football the way we know how to. We're still going to do what we do, and we're going to leave that up to Coach 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] to do all the challenges and all that stuff. As far as what we do, as far as fundamentals and technique and how we play football, that's not going to change what we do."

What have you seen from CB Iman Marshall? (Ken Weinman) "Iman Marshall is a young kid who is just learning how to play football. He's just trying to get his feet wet in learning how to play corner in the NFL. That's all he is right now. When he gets out there and actually gets his opportunity to start playing, we'll see what we really have. Right now, he's swimming. He's learning."

CB Brandon Carr

On if playing multiple positions within the secondary is new to him: "It's new. It's a new challenge. At this point in my career, I'm just ready for whatever. I've played a long time, and I feel like this is an opportunity for me to go out there and show my versatility, fill in wherever I'm needed, help out as much as I'm needed. I'm down for whatever challenges coaches present [to] me. I'm going to try to knock it out as best as I can."

On the depth of the secondary: "No doubt, we're deep across the board. It's tough to get on the field, so you have to find any way you can to go out there, get your named called and make a play. I'm just one of these guys out here trying to get better each and every day and challenge myself. Find a spot on the field. It's challenging, but it's good for our secondary and good for our defense."

On if he's constantly trying to find new ways to get his body ready to play:"I just have to keep moving. I have to keep the car running, keep the engine going. In too much downtime for me, I get a little stiff. You mentioned I'm 33, that's not too old. I'm always a student of the game, trying to learn different ways to get better. That's the only thing: I'm just trying to get to that next level each and every day, each and every season. Whatever I can do to incorporate into my game to get better, that's what I'm going to do."

On if he had any reaction to the NFL pass interference rule change:"The review? They can't review them all." (laughter)

On if his starting streak is important to him:"The starting streak? I haven't thought about it. I'm just so consumed with trying to be the best I can right now. [I want to] knock out all these positions that they have me playing. My head spins sometimes. I have to slow myself down. I'm just all about trying to win games. I've been playing 12 years, trying to get a ring, trying to win a championship, trying to be the best defense, the best secondary one more year. That's all my mind is focused on right now."

On if playing multiple positions feels different to him: "The game kind of slows down. I know where everybody is on the field. Knowing multiple positions helps me at different positions as well, so I know what's going on across the board. [It's a] new opportunity. I wake up every day with the unknown, the uncertainty of what position I'm going to play today, what calls are coming out. I have to know all my checks across the board and still go out there and play corner and lock down some nine-routes. It's a big challenge, but I'm excited. It keeps me fresh out there."

On if veteran players ask him how he continues his starting streak:"Guys ask me all the time. If I had an answer, by now I probably would have retired and written a book and been published across the world. (laughter) I don't have an answer. I just do what my body feels and what it tells me to do. I learn from older guys as well, and some of the younger guys. I try to get some new juice from the things they do as well. I don't have a clear-cut routine or remedy of how I've lasted so long. God is good, and he's always watching and protecting me. I just ride out each and every day."

WR Chris Moore

On if he is looking forward to a day off tomorrow: "Oh yeah, definitely. We've been out here working the first five days already. It's been fun, but everybody enjoys that. It's really more of a mental day just to rest your mind for a little bit. That's what's going to be good about it."

On facing S Earl Thomas III in practice:"It's been fun. I mean, that's the best safety in the league. You always know where he's at on the field, so it's been fun to have him out there, and he's already made some big hits to let you know where he's at. It's been fun, really."

On where his comfort level is with QB Lamar Jackson:"Really comfortable. We threw a little bit in the offseason, and he's just coming into that leader role every single day he comes out here. He's getting better and better. This is his offense, and he's taking control of it, so that's what's really good about him."

On what the major differences are in QB Lamar Jackson from now to last year at this time:"Just how comfortable he is. He's really taken control of this offense. It's made for him, it's made for all the great players and skills we have, so he's just more comfortable in being able to go out there and do his thing."

On getting together with QB Lamar Jackson at the park across the street before camp:"Just continue to get the timing down, throwing and just knowing each other's speed. Just really getting out there and talking about, 'Oh, this is how I'm going to run this route.' We all run routes different, so he just needs to know how to throw all the different routes to each receiver."

On if it is easier to learn routes in that setting rather than an entire team practice:"Oh yeah, definitely, because you get the time to sit there and talk to each other like, 'Alright, this is how I'm going to run it, and if we mess it up, we can come back and do it again.' It's more detailed when you've got the time alone."

On if he sees the potential for opportunity to make plays in this new offense:"Definitely. Our offense, we have so many threats on there we have to use everybody. The fact that we are going to be so balanced is going to throw the defense off, so I feel like we won't just be a run-oriented team. We'll definitely be airing the ball out this year." 

On how playing against the Ravens' secondary helps the receivers:"It just makes us better, because we know that no matter what other defense we're going against we've already faced some of the best [defensive backs] in the league. It makes you more comfortable, more confident going into the actual season knowing that each week, in-and-out, I've already gone against the best DBs, I've already seen their technique, and I already know what I can do."

On where he feels like the team is with the new offense that has been put in place:"I feel like we're getting better each week. We're going to be very explosive. I'm excited actually for the season. I feel like this is going to be an offense that people haven't really seen before. It's going to be different, and it's going to be really fun to watch. So, I'm really excited to get it started and going."

On if there is anything he can do to help along rookie WR Marquise Brown while he is waiting to be cleared for practice:"We just talk to him and basically more playbook stuff since he can't actually be on the field and move. You just give him little tips and tricks and details about the playbook so that when he gets in, it's not like it's his first time. He can jump right in and get going."

On if he is excited to see rookie WR Marquise Brown in action on the field:"Yeah, that man, he was exciting to watch in college, and he's going to be exciting on the field. With somebody like that on the field, it helps everybody else. It spreads out the field; it makes everybody else get open. It's going to be exciting to have him out there."  

CB Jimmy Smith

On how much pride the secondary has in the cornerback group and what level it can play at:"I think we already know we can play at a high level. It's already been done. We expect to play at that level. We have a lot of pride in our room. We have a lot of ballers and people who are striving for excellence. I think our expectations are set pretty high this year."

On the impressions S Ed Reed left on him during their time as teammates: "Ed was Ed. He was a great football player, a smart dude, a better human. I could go on and on about Ed. He was very instrumental early in my career, teaching me small things and how to become a professional. Like I said, I could go on and on about Ed."

On what he has seen from S Earl Thomas III so far and how their chemistry is developing:"I can tell he's going to bring the passion to the game and to the back end. He's a ball hog. He has instincts, natural instincts, that have shown up already on the field. Breaking on slants, just little things that I'm excited to see when it's time to really let the bullets fly. You know how he plays. I'm excited to play with him."

On if big plays in practice get the secondary excited for the season: "Oh yeah. Big hits get you juiced. If you think back to, just that last year, when Tony Jefferson came down on No. 81 at San Diego [WR Mike Williams], how juiced the defense got right after that play. Big hits give you energy. They bring you life."

On his thoughts on rookie WR Miles Boykin: "That boy is fast. He's a big dude, fast, strong. I think he's going to be a player for us this year. I'm excited about it."

On how welcome an off day is after five days of training camp:"It's not that hot. We're definitely looking forward to it, because usually it's every three days that we get a day off. So, to go five straight, especially in the first week, you get your legs underneath you. We're definitely looking forward to this day off, though – cold tub and some rest."

On what it's like for the young players to be surrounded by veterans and wondering if they will make the 53-man roster: "I think that they appreciate the fact that they have some veterans to learn from, to be honest. They ask us questions all the time, and they get to see how to play the position, how to play certain coverages, the nuances. Not everybody gets that opportunity. Sometimes you go in and everybody's young. To have veteran players with the experience, that helps them along the way a lot better. As far as playing time, we have guys that can play. Those young dudes will get on the field, just like 'Double A' [Anthony Averett] got on the field last year. Even though we were rotating, he still got out there. So, I think they're going to get their chances."

On if he had any reactions to the NFL rule change on pass interferences:"No, they change it for the DBs to make it harder every year. So, of course they want to replay us and take some points and hits for the offense. That helps them out."

On how conditioning and nutritional changes he made in the offseason are helping his performance: "It's a huge help. In training camp days, you lose your legs early, but you can tell with the way you eat, what you do after practice, the stretching, the massages, all of that – that pays dividends in being able to sustain a high level of play, especially during training camp."

On if there was a particular moment when he realized how special S Ed Reed was: "I guess more just watching him play in the games. Watching him practice was one thing, but watching him actually turn it on in the games was kind of surprising, just how fast he moved in games. Practice was a little different for him, but in the games, that dude could really ball. I was really impressed at how fast he played."

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