Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening Statement: "Good seeing everybody. I really appreciate you being here. [It is the] first day of training camp, a great day. You hear the fans. The kids are excited. We are excited. It's just a blessing to be out here. You have to pinch yourself. I think we all do today. Pinch yourself and consider yourself [blessed]. We get to do this for a living, right? Fans are out here, and they get to spend the day [here]. The kids are having a great time. That's what it's all about, to me. That's why we do this. [The] first two days, [players] are in what we call shells – protective shirts and helmets. The third day, Saturday, the practice at the stadium, we will be in pads. And then we will be in pads most of the rest of training camp after that. What questions do you have?"
Do you still get excited about the first day of training camp? (Mike Preston) "Absolutely."
Do you approach training camp this year any differently than you have in years past? (Mike Preston)"I don't think so. I think you're just excited about the guys being back and about the opportunity. You want to see what it looks like and all the planning, and you just like coaching football. So, I do feel just as excited now as I did when I started in Philly as a special teams coach for the very first time. I don't think I'm quite as nervous as I was the first year. Maybe I have a better handle on what to expect. It's a blessing."
How did the offense look? (Kevin Richardson)"I thought the offense looked like it was the first day. That's what I thought. This is our starting point, and we just work from here."
There are a lot of new faces here. You have a new playbook this year, and you have a lot to accomplish. Is training camp different in that regard? (Dave Ginsburg) "I don't think it's different in that regard, in the sense of the process, because we have a plan, and we have to stick to it. You have to coach and detail everything out. But, it is different in terms of what we're doing, to your point. It's a different type of an offense. We've expanded our defense, and we'll be doing things that we haven't done before. So, there will be some unknowns, and we really need to find out what we're good at, as much as anything. We need to find out what we do well, what we don't do well, and see what direction our capabilities take us."
What kind of leader was OLB Terrell Suggs on and off the field for this team? What kind of gaps have you seen in training camp, and is anyone stepping up to fill those? (Lila Bromberg)"Terrell Suggs is a one-of-a-kind leader, but he's leading in Arizona now. I appreciate everything he did. I love him like a brother. He is a brother. We will always feel that way about him. He's a Cardinal, and we're Ravens, and we have a bunch of Ravens here that are excited to step up and fill those kinds of roles. I'm excited to see them do it."
Who have you seen step up to take OLB Terrell Suggs' place on the defense?_ (Lila Bromberg)_"Everybody has a different way of doing it. I don't want to say a bunch of names. I think you know who the people are on our team, and I want everyone to have an opportunity to be a leader."
G/T Jermaine Eluemunor and T Orlando Brown Jr. were not on the practice field today. Is it a conditioning situation? (Jerry Coleman) "It's a failed physical and conditioning test. So, those guys have to either pass the test, or we will have certain conditioning protocol that they will have to go through. And really, we want to make sure that they're ready to practice the way we want to practice and make sure they're safe and make sure they're productive and ready to go. We have a standard for that, and we stick to it."
How does DT Michael Pierce look to you, and how do you feel about the progress he has made? (Jamison Hensley) "[I am] very impressed with the progress Michael Pierce has made. He has lost a lot of weight. It's all been good weight loss. He's maintained his muscle mass. He's lost the bad weight, the fat weight. He still has a ways to go, but he passed the conditioning test. That's quite an accomplishment, especially for a big man like that. I'm impressed with what he's done, and I'm very confident he will get the job done."
How is the mental health of the team? No transfers? (Stan White) "I know that's a ball-bust question from an Ohio State guy. If you want to ask the question, I'll answer it, unless you're just busting my chops."
How is the mental health of the team? (Stan White) "The mental health of the team is good. Do you want me to comment on the Michigan thing? Is that what you want? I'm happy to. I think it's a disgrace for certain journalists out there and commentators that deliberately distort what somebody says. You get up there in front of a microphone, and you get asked questions, and you answer them honestly and directly. And then certain journalists, if you want to call them that, go out of their way to distort what somebody says. And then, you wonder why guys don't say anything, and you get mad. You wonder why [Patriots head coach] Bill [Belichick] is the way he is. Bill is the smartest of all of us. He won't give anybody anything. Everybody gets ticked off. So, [Michigan head coach] Jim [Harbaugh] gets up there and expresses an opinion. What he says is, right now, student-athletes are being forced to jump through hoops they shouldn't be forced to jump through because the NCAA has ridiculous and stupid rules in place that limit the student-athlete's ability to transfer. [He wants] a one-time transfer any time, anywhere. So, he advocates for that, and it's as if he's attacking mental health. No. That's the loophole that lawyers have been forced to use to put young people in a position where they … It's not even a mental health conversation. It's being in the position to use that to get a transfer OK'ed, to be eligible to transfer, without having to sit out a year. That's the NCAA. That's the 'powers that be' putting young people in that kind of position. That's what Jim was talking about. I thought it was a very forward-thinking position. It's never been advocated before, that I've heard. Give everybody a one-time transfer to go wherever they want. One time. And he's being attacked for that. I don't know how you can explain that, and I don't know how you can justify that if you're the people attacking Jim Harbaugh on that."
You mentioned that the defense has a new look. What differences do you expect fans to see?_ (Lila Bromberg)_"We are going to keep building on the defense that we started last year. We changed the way we're built. I think the fans saw that on the field in the style of play, and we want to build on that. We have a lot of principles built into our defense that are very new to defenses. We want to keep growing that and continue on-track. We're not too concerned about the naysayers or the critics that say we can't do it. As a matter of fact, we welcome that."
We know WR Marquise Brown has passed the conditioning test, but how is he progressing? Do you feel like he is close to getting back on the field? (Luke Jones) "He has passed the conditioning test. [That is a] great sign. He can run. That's in the doctor's hands right now, in terms of the healing process. No setbacks. He is on schedule. They want to make sure that 'this cut' and 'that cut' don't make him feel pain. They're probably airing on the side of caution to some degree, but I don't want to put a timeframe on it, because it's never in the coach's hands. I'm hopeful, and I'm really expecting him back here pretty soon."
It looks like RB Mark Ingram has a pretty wide range of abilities. (Jason La Canfora) "I agree with you. Mark Ingram is a pro's pro. He's a proven back in the National Football League. He seems very healthy. [There is] not a lot of wear and tear on Mark. He's a downhill, physical runner. He fits our style. Not to mention, he's really good out of the backfield, which, he hasn't really caught that many passes, surprisingly. I'm excited about that part of it, too."
Over the past few years you have opened up training camp to more fans. That's for their enjoyment, but is there a practical aspect to players responding to the presence of the fans? (Mark Viviano) "You play in front of fans, right? Having the fans there and the responses … It's one thing to put the music up or have white noise, but having the fans react and respond, it pumps the guys up. A guy goes and makes a great catch or something like that, and the fans go crazy. How could that not fuel you? That's a big part of the benefit."
What about team speed? I know you put a big emphasis on that. Is it too early to tell if the team is a little quicker? (Kirk McEwen)"No doubt. We're faster. One of my good friends in town got me a t-shirt. He had it made. [It says], 'Speed kills,' and on the back it says, 'Speed thrills.' I might wear that to practice tomorrow. How's that? But yes, we want to be fast, and we are."
Is OLB Shane Ray's absence today also a physical thing, like with WR Marquise Brown? (Aaron Kasinitz)"Same thing. Same situation."
What are the challenges as a head coach when you're installing a new offense, and you have a new quarterback? Does that take a different amount of attention from a head coach than a normal training camp would? (Gregg Rosenthal) "If I was coaching the quarterback, like a [Saints head coach] Sean Payton would do, probably so. To me, it's still a big-picture type of thing. I trust our coaches. [Quarterbacks coach] James Urban does a great job with Lamar [Jackson]. [Offensive coordinator] Greg Roman, [assistant head coach/pass coordinator/wide receivers] David Culley … Everybody does a great job with all of our guys. I'll talk to Lamar, and if I see something, I'll just tell him, from my perspective, what I think. Usually, it's from the secondary, from a defensive back perspective – what they're thinking, what they can and can't do. Like today, I told him, 'Let's not give those corners too much credit. When you run a nine-route, that's a tough ball to cover. Give the receiver a real chance to make the play, and he'll make it most of the time for you.' So, I felt like a had a contribution. And, you may have noticed, he hit a bunch of those at the end of practice. (laughter) Just saying."
In relation to speed, what have you seen from RB Justice Hill today?_ (Ken Weinman)_"Justice Hill looks really quick and fast. He's very determined to make a big impact this year. With running backs, a lot of that is, you see them, A) in pads, and B) when we tackle. Can you make guys miss and break tackles and all of that? That will be the real test for the running backs. But so far, so good, for all of those guys, including Justice."
OLB Matthew Judon
On how he is feeling:"I'm alright. I'm good. It feels good to get back out here working again."
On when he ramped up his training prior to camp:"Football doesn't ever stop. It's year-round. You have to eat healthy year-round, so it wasn't ever like, 'OK, it's go time,' besides when we ran out on the field today."
On how excited he is to be a leader on defense and how he has taken on that role:"Today was our real first day. I'm going to lead by example, and if we need a vocal leader, I can be that, too, but I'm just going to be me. I'm just going to lead by doing what I've been doing for the last three years, and then hopefully, it works for our team."
On if there is pressure on him and the defense to make up for lost players:"It really doesn't matter who we lose. We just have to come out and get sacks, get stops, be a dominant defense to do what we want to do this year. Those were some key guys that we had last year, but we're going to have some guys that step up this year, like everybody does."
On if he expects offenses to block differently due to the changes:"No, I don't really care what other teams do. We have to focus on us first. As long as we put the work in, it doesn't matter what they do."
On ILB Patrick Onwuasor assuming the middle linebacker position:"'Peanut' [Onwuasor] is my guy, man. We roomed together when we first got here. He's going to be a great leader for us, and he knows how to make plays, big plays, and he's been doing it since he's been here. So, I have all the confidence in 'Peanut,' and I'm right there behind him."
On his goals for the season:"Yes, I set goals. I'm not going to get into them. I don't really do number goals, because what if I reach that number before the end of the year? Is my year a success? Or, what if I don't reach that number, but I obtain some other goals? Did I have a bad year? So, I'm just going to go out there and try to dominate."
On DT Michael Pierce entering training camp:"Man, we know who Michael Pierce is. For the last three years, we've seen what Michael Pierce has done. He came in [as part of] my [2016 rookie] class, and he is who he is. He's going to be there game-in and game-out. You go check the film, and you're going to see Michael Pierce when he's on the field. He is who he is, and I'm glad he got to his goal, a weight goal, for camp. But we know who he is."
On what advice he received from OLB Terrell Suggs:"We don't ever give trade secrets. You learn a lot from 'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs], a guy who played that long, and a leader in the locker room, you learn a lot from him, and you try to carry that over. But, I think that one of the [biggest] things is, be yourself. He was always himself when he was in front of you all, when he wasn't in front of you all, when he was at home, when we hung out outside this building, he was still himself. So, I think that's the biggest thing I take away from him." (Reporter: "Is that who you always try to be?") "Man, I am who I am. I come here, say the same thing every time. You always ask me the same questions. I feel like it's getting repetitive, but I come do it, and I'm always me. I'm going to try to stay me for as long as I can be."
On if he likes to "troll" his teammates on social media: "Oh, for sure! Troll, I'm the biggest troll! No, I think 'T.J.' [Tony Jefferson] is the biggest troll. 'T.J.' is the biggest troll, but it's just making fun. When I'm not around these guys, I miss these guys. They've become like brothers to you, and we do the same things. We kind of love the same things and have the same passions about stuff, especially when it comes to other sports that we really don't play. But it's fun. And, the [Phoenix] Suns suck, if 'T.J.' sees this."
On if his 2016 rookie class envisioned that it would play so prominently on the defense four years later:"No, every time a rookie class comes in, we kind of get in a huddle and say, 'Man, were we this bad? Or, were we this good?' _(laughter) We ask our questions. We're like, 'Dang, do you remember back then?' It seems like a long time ago, but it was only four years. It was only four years ago, and so you really can't imagine it. You just put the work in every day, and it just compounds on each other, and then you get here."
On head coach John Harbaugh's message to the team at the beginning of camp:"Man, were you there?" (Reporter: "No.") "OK, then you weren't supposed to know! (laughter) It was kind of taking it day-by-day, but understand that we run out of time quick in this league. I think it's 44 days until our first game, and I think 11 or 10 days before our first preseason game, so it goes fast. But, take it day-by-day."
On if questions about the pass rush motivate him:"That's your job, man. You come here and do your job, I come here and do my job. So, your job is to ask dumb questions; my job is to maneuver around those dumb questions and not give you all any soundbites." (laughter)
ILB Patrick Onwuasor
Opening statement:"How are you all doing? I'm excited to be back at training camp, ready to get this going, and I'm excited for Saturday. We'll get to put on some pads, and hopefully everybody will come out and see us."
On how it feels that his 2016 rookie class boasts many of the Ravens' key defenders:"I feel like it's exciting. [Matthew] Judon, [Michael] Pierce, Willie Henry – all of us coming up at the same time and just all coming back. And at this moment, a lot of people look up toward us because we're going into our fourth year, and now we're the vets, but it still doesn't feel like we're the vets. But, now we're the vets, and it's exciting. It's a great feeling."
On what OLB Matthew Judon was like as a roommate:"Annoying." (laughter)
On if he envisioned being a key piece of the defense when he was an undrafted free agent four years ago:"No. I just knew I had a role, and whatever my role was, I was going to get the job done. And now, this is my role, and I'm going to try to get it done."
On DT Michael Pierce entering camp:"Michael Pierce, he's going to do what he has to do to get on this field, and that's what he did. That's what he showed his teammates, that whatever he has to do to commit to this team, he's going to get the job done."
On whether or not the departed defensive veterans is a conversation topic in the building:"It's both. The players, we talk about it, as well, just because it kind of hurts us. But we know we have to build on that, and a lot of people are stepping up and stepping forward. One thing we do is communicate. We talk about everything: moving pieces, players, moving around and doing different things. We talk about that, and what we're trying to do and build here is more leadership. If we can count on each other, I feel like that could get us going, instead of one person trying to fire everybody up. If everybody is motivated, I think we could catch a quick spark like that as well."
On if it is jarring to not have the departed defensive veterans at training camp:"Yes, I looked over and saw a golf cart, and I thought it was [Terrell Suggs] driving the cart, but I had to snap back into it. (laughter) It was 'Big Baby' [Brandon Williams] on the cart. Just those types of moments, you start having a little bit of flashback, but you have to kind of get over it and step up into the new role."
On if he went through a lot of preparation to be ready for a new leadership role:"Me coming here in my rookie year, it could have been at any time. I followed C.J.'s [Mosley] role. I learned. That was one thing about [Matthew] Judon, [Michael] Pierce and Willie Henry – we learned. So, we sat back. We listened, we learned, we took advice, and those guys, they led us. That was our goal, just kind of be quiet and listen and learn for this moment, in case it ever did happen. And it happened, so I feel like we were prepared for that."
On the biggest thing he learned from ILB C.J. Mosley, and if Mosley has given him any advice entering the season:"C.J. is more [about] confidence, leadership on and off the field, determined to get the job done, and just try to take over the game. That's one thing I want to kind of emulate in my game, is just take over the game and try to be a leader."
On what is special about the first practice of camp:"With the fans, hearing the noise, hearing them cheer for you, that's great, and now I don't really have to call [Anthony] Levine [Sr.] and 'T.J.' [Tony Jefferson] on FaceTime all the time to talk about plays. I'm going to see them the next day. I actually called them last night, and Levine was like, 'Man, I'm going to see you in a couple of hours. Stop calling me!' _(laughter) That was one thing. We always called each other, and kept in touch and talked about things, even when [Matthew] Judon wasn't here [during OTAs]. Judon still was learning the defense, because we were calling him and letting him know what was going on, and that's the relationship that we have with each other. We're trying to build with that."
On head coach John Harbaugh's opening message to the team:"Just be a smart, physical, tough, blue-collar defense, and be humble. Same thing with Baltimore – we're never going to back down for anybody. We're going to do what we have to do."
On his relationship with defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale and if it has changed entering this season:"No. Me coming here as a rookie, the first thing 'Wink' told me was, 'Look, you've never played linebacker before. All I need you to do is fly around and be around the ball, and I'm going to turn you into a linebacker.' So, when he told that to me, I did what he said on my part, and it's paying off. I'm turning into a linebacker. It's still kind of weird, but I have to get over it. I listened to him, and our relationship is building."
On if it is significant to play the position that LB Ray Lewis played on a defense that boasts a storied past:"Yes, it's a reputation that we have to stand by of being tough and mean. When you step on that grass, you want to put fear in the opponents' eyes, and let them know that we're not the ones to play with. And, I think we have to keep that legacy going of just being tough and physical." (Reporter: "And with Ray, does that mean something to you?") "Yes, it means a lot just stepping into that MIKE position. Those guys, watching him and then watching C.J. [Mosley], now it's just going to trickle down to us. So, now we just have to keep that same energy."