RAVENS FIRST OTA MEDIA AVAILABILITY
Head coach John Harbaugh, QB Joe FLacco, WR Steve SMith SR. & DT Brandon Williams
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, good to see you guys here – appreciate it. Beautiful day, obviously, and it's just topped off by seeing all of your beautiful faces here. (laughter) We really appreciate it. First day of OTAs … Second day of OTAs, first day for [the media]. [We are] excited about it. I told the team yesterday morning that we get excited about everything as coaches. We get excited about the draft, we get excited about the first day when they come back to lift weights, we get excited about the first day of football school, and now we're excited about the first day of OTAs. So, it's another step in the process, and the guys are doing a really good job. [We are] really happy with the effort, the intensity level in terms of playing fast, playing smart, so it has been good. Couple of announcements: We have three rookies today at the NFL Players Association event, which was scheduled during OTAs on practice days for some odd reason. [Breshad] Perriman, Maxx Williams and [Javorius] 'Buck' Allen [are attending]. And then [Michael] Campanaro – as was reported – he had a thigh injury. I think there's a slight tear in there. [Campanaro] won't require surgery, but he probably is out for the rest of this time here. No one is more disappointed or frustrated with it than 'Camp,' but he has been working hard, so he'll just have to get that right and be ready for training camp."
What have you seen from DT Timmy Jernigan in the short amount of time that you've had as he tries to step into a bigger role? (Aaron Wilson) "Timmy is looking good. He's out here playing fast. He's a year ahead of where he was a year ago, obviously, in terms of knowing the defense. When the pads come on, that'll tell the story for those guys up front, but he has looked good so far."
With QB Joe Flacco, it's another offensive coordinator. Do you think that has helped him, adjusting every year? I know you're trying to keep some of the tenants in place, but do you think that helps him? (Jamison Hensley) "I think it's an irrelevant question – doesn't really matter. I like our coaches, I like our players a lot, and I like where we're going this year with our offense. "
Is there a hope, though, that coach Marc Trestman is here for a period of time, and maybe Joe does get three, four years? (Jason La Canfora) "You guys are way more focused on that than I am. It's year-to-year in this league. You try to put the best group together you can every single year. If we've learned anything, it's that in the National Football League. I'd rather be changing coaches because they're becoming head coaches than the other reason that coaches get changed around this league on a regular basis. So, I'm pretty happy with that so far. If you want to make a story out of it, then fine. Coaches change in the National Football League. You have a scoop there."
Coach, now that you've found another talent at the regional Combine, how has CB Tray Walker … Since he has been here, how has he been? (Barry Barnes) "Tray has done well. [We're] really excited about Tray. He's a guy that we had targeted. We really hoped to get him in the draft. He's a guy that we wanted to get in the mid-rounds. We were looking to try to draft him, and we were able to do it. We had heard that … We know for a fact that he would have been gone with our next pick in the fifth round. He was going to be taken early in the fifth round, so we got him right in the right spot – great kudos to Eric [DeCosta] and Ozzie [Newsome] for getting that done – and we're pleased to have him. He looks very good out here."
Coach, as far as OLB Za'Darius Smith is concerned – he made a nice play today – can you talk a little bit about what you're seeing from him and what has impressed you? (Turron Davenport) "You have the number and the ponytail, so there's obvious comparison to Pernell [McPhee], but he's a little different than Pernell in the way he plays. He's his own man – very athletic guy, very serious guy in terms of his approach to the game. He's a good fit for our defense, so I'm excited about seeing how he does. Again – this is like all those guys – once we get the pads on, we'll know a lot more. But so far so good."
John, you have a lot of young guys taking reps out there. How valuable is a guy like ILB Daryl Smith just to be a leader on the field and to help some of the young guys with the way he practices? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Yes, you're right. Daryl being out there as a veteran leader on defense [is valuable]. [He is] getting guys lined up, just running the show and showing the young linebackers how to run the show. C.J. [Mosley], obviously, has seen that for a year now. It's a big plus for us. He's still a very good player, too. I think he led the defense in production points per play yesterday in practice, too, so he can still play."
Good thing to have CB Jimmy Smith out there. What have you seen from him as he has come back from his injury and being on the field? (Ryan Mink) "I saw a little competitive streak today. I tried to remind him he has the red [injury] jersey. He won't put it on. He just has it tucked in his belt right there. That tells you where his mind is at. But so far, so good. He's not full speed, but he's out there working hard, and he's probably ahead of schedule."
WR Darren Waller is a guy fighting for the ball and coming up with it as well on numerous occasions. That's what you really want out of a young kid. (Pete Gilbert) "Yes, Darren has done a really good job. Obviously, he grabs your attention out there just when he walks on the field, but as we know, that's not enough. But he's making plays after the ball is snapped also. Again, when the pads come on, we'll know more, but he sure has a good frame, and he knows what he's doing, and he's a pretty good route runner for a big man like that."
S Will Hill III, obviously, he couldn't start right away last year. Talk about where he is now and I guess what you see or what you're expecting from him this year (Clifton Brown) "I almost say [he is] light-years ahead of where he was last year. [He] came in kind of late and under challenging circumstances that he was in and missed six weeks to start with, which is hard. You're off the field for six weeks, and a lot of rust builds up, especially [for] a guy just learning the system. Here he is. He has been here every single day in the offseason that I'm aware of. Heck, he brought his family in here to work out with him when he was on his own. I see him pushing the stroller with his wife and his baby down the street here in Owings Mills. I just think he has really dug in to have a great season, and we'll see how it goes for him. But right now, he looks the part."
John, is S Terrence Brooks ahead of schedule, too? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Terrence Brooks is doing really well. No predictions right now, but he looks good. He has worked hard. [Head certified athletic trainer] Mark Smith does a great job in our training room, and those guys who've been there the whole time, they've benefitted from that – Kapron [Lewis-Moore], [Brent] Urban. Brent Urban had a personal issue, family issue, matter [to tend to today]. I'll let him describe that for you when he comes back, but that's why he wasn't here. But all those guys have really done a really good job."
Coach, there are a lot of ways to evaluate a quarterback over their career. When I look at Joe, you look at a guy that came in early it was all about, "We have to have a lot of talent around him. We want to have a great running game, a great defense." Not that you would always want those things, but now you talk a lot about a young receiving corps and who's going to emerge, and maybe your quarterback [is] at a point where he can raise other people up. People talk about wins, losses, so many different ways to evaluate it. Is that a natural way to evaluate as well as a guy grows through his career to the point where now he is asked to help [other players]? (Jason La Canfora) "I'm not going to swallow that hook. Joe Flacco has been a great quarterback from the day he got here, OK? You want to look back and say, 'This has been the most talented offense in the National Football League for the last seven years, and they've carried Joe Flacco?' You can say that if you want, but it's ridiculous. Joe Flacco is a great player. He's only going to get better. I think he's hitting his stride, hitting the peak of his career, and I wouldn't want any other quarterback in the National Football League – period. End of story. So, just write that and be done with it, because that's the last I really want to hear about it. This guy is a superstar in the National Football League, and I'm thrilled to have him, and I can't wait to see what he does this year with all that young talent around him. I love the young talent around him. I'm thrilled with what we have, and I just want to coach them. I just want to coach them with our guys and get out there and get after it and see where we can go with it. All set? I'm going to drop the bat on that one, and walk off. How's that?" (laughter)
QB Joe Flacco
On how his golf game is: "Not very good. (laughter) I haven't played too much, so it's never really that good."
On how different this year's offense is from last year's in the little bit of time he's been in it: "There are a lot of similarities, but hey, it's a new coordinator [and] it's a new team. So, there are a lot of little verbiage changes and new concepts and new ways of teaching things. It's always going to be a little different when you get somebody new."
On if he feels like he's entering Year Two of this offense or if it feels more like a Year One: "No, it doesn't feel like a Year One. I feel really comfortable with some things, but it's still nice to get out here in these practices and run through some things that you're getting for the first time and seeing how everybody reacts to it. I think we're doing a really good job of breaking the huddle, getting out, getting lined up. All the mistakes we're having are kind of little things that are very easily corrected, and I think we're going to get better and better through the next eight of these [OTAs]."
On what it means to him to have a veteran player like WR Steve Smith Sr. attending the OTA practices: "It's always nice to see the guys out here that you're going to have to rely on a ton during the year, and Steve is obviously one of those guys. To see him out here, no matter how long it is, or what it is, it's always good. It gives everybody that sense of wanting to come out here and work hard. He's one of the guys that everybody kind of looks at and says, 'OK, how is Steve doing on this play?' And they feed off of that and learn how to practice. So, anytime you can get guys out here of his nature, it does things for the whole team, just because all the young guys learn from it."
On if Smith Sr. is just as intense this year as he was when he came into the program last year: "Oh, I don't know. (laughter) I wouldn't describe him as super intense right now. He's just being himself. He's kind of being goofy and having fun and working hard at the same time."
On what his impressions are of new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman: "It's been great to work with him so far. He's very detailed in what he wants and how he puts things in and making sure that he teaches it in a way that everybody understands it and gets it pretty quickly. It's only been a couple of times out on the field with him, but I think he's doing a great job of motivating and getting everybody going, so it's been good."
On how Trestman's teaching style is different from former offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's: "It's tough to compare people in their style, especially since I didn't spend too much time with Gary, and I haven't spent too much time with Marc. But they're their own guys. They have their own offenses; they have their own way of systematically installing things. I think Marc is trying to throw a lot at us right now and see how well we react to it all, and eventually we're going to get it all and it's all going to come together. He wants to run a lot of the stuff right now that we're going to be running during the year, so rather than going through and base-install, base-install, base-install and gradually building up, we're kind of getting a lot of stuff. We're already running red zone, we're already running two-point conversion, we're doing fourth-down conversions – all kinds of things. And in order to do those things at practice, you have to install more of your offense than you may traditionally do. So, I think that's one thing where it probably varies a little bit. He's trying to throw a lot at us and just see how we react."
On how well the young wide receivers are adjusting: "I haven't seen a ton of them right now, but everybody is doing a great job from what I can tell in lining up and doing the right thing. They've got a lot of talent, too. [We have] a lot of big guys, a lot of little, quick guys; they all seem to have really good hands, so it's been promising."
On his take on the new PAT rules and if he'll be asking to "go for it" more often when it comes to the two-point conversion: "I have no idea. I really don't know. The only thing I can think of is I wouldn't think that you would just naturally go for a two-point conversion, more so. I'm not the coach though. There may be a couple more misses here and there, and I guess in order to make up for that miss, maybe teams will go for two the next time. I don't know. I'm sure it will work out so that there are a couple more two-point conversions, but we'll see."
On if any of his offseason recovery or preparation has changed throughout his years in the NFL: "I think as you get older and you're in the league more, I don't think … I don't feel any worse because of my age yet. I think you learn more. I'm not going to be 50 [years old] and playing. (laughter) I hope I'm 40, but 50, no. (laughter) I think the reason that it changes maybe a little bit is because you learn more each year. I'm comfortable with what I do in the offseason and who I work with when I'm not around here. And it wasn't like that probably the first two years. But ever since then, I'm pretty comfortable and I feel good about it. It's kind of been pretty similar, and I rely on my trainer, and when I come back here I rely on these guys. I think it's working out really well."
On if he is particular about how inflated the ball is that he uses: "Do I have to comment on that? (laughter) Listen, everybody likes the football their way. That's why I make sure our guys rub the balls down in a certain way – have them rub a couple balls down and make sure I like it – and once they have the ball the way I like it, I trust them to do that from that point forward."
On if he's had the mindset to just go with the flow after he's seen so many players come and go throughout his career in Baltimore: "Yeah, that's the nature of this business. I think since I've been here – I got here in  – and I think myself, Terrell [Suggs], Sam Koch and Marshal Yanda are the only guys that were on that team that are still on the team now. There's a ton of turnover; you realize that very quickly. Coaches, the same thing. The biggest thing is we've got a really confident group, so we just welcome anything. It's just, 'OK, yeah. It's all right. We're going to be good.' It's disappointing to see guys leave; they're your friends more so than anything. Obviously, a lot of guys have been very productive on the field for us, but you really have relationships with those people and it's tough to see them leave for that reason. But also, you're happy for them, because if they're leaving, they're usually leaving here for a good reason in their personal life. So, you're usually happy for them."
On if he knows who he has completed the most passes to since he's been in Baltimore: "Derrick Mason? (Reporter: "I had Derrick Mason and Torrey Smith both at 213." It's a dead heat. So, I'm thinking they hit 213, and then they're out…") "Then they're out? (laughter) Don't tell my guys that. (laughter) Whenever they get close to 213, we have to make sure we end that season with 220, at least, something that's not 213."
On if he anticipates a little bit of an adjustment with a new coordinator and new receivers, or if as a quarterback, he can't think about that: "No, I don't. I don't know if you don't think about it, but I don't expect it. I think we've got good guys, and we're going in the direction we're going for a reason and we're going to be a very good team because of it."
On how comfortable he is with RB Justin Forsett as an outlet in the passing game: "I've been comfortable with him and I think he's going to be a huge check-down guy for us, and I think he's going to be a guy that can win for us in man coverage when he has to and get yards. He's a very versatile back. He's already proved that he can run the ball and get up there and protect for us – which is huge. I think the catching the ball and becoming a part of that game will be really easy for him."
WR Steve Smith Sr.
On why he chose to attend a voluntary practice: "Because it's voluntary/mandatory. (laugher) No, you get some time away – which is always good – and then when you come back, you're excited to be here. I've always been one of those guys. I get away, but then you have that excitement coming back here. If you're here all the time, when you come to OTAs, you don't really feel like you've been away. So, that's just kind of how I do it."
On whether he has considered playing into his 40s like WR Jerry Rice: "Jerry Rice is, obviously, the greatest wide receiver to ever play, and I really don't have the family structure to chase 40, to be honest. I have a lot of things on my 'to do' list that don't have to do anything with football. So, I'm going to take it day by day, but I will not be playing until I'm 40."
On some of the offseason training he has done to combat the rigors of football life: "I don't know. I'll think about it and get back to you. (laughter) Age comes, but football conditioning and routes and all that stuff, that doesn't change with age. Obviously, you probably have to start a little bit earlier. But yes, I'm 36, and I remember last year when I signed here [the media was not] expecting anything from a 35-year-old. Now, [the media has] to pick on me, because I'm 36. I'm just going to play football and practice. I think I look halfway decent. I think there are teams that probably [are] drafting wide receivers hoping that they can get a guy fresh out of a college [who is] able to put up 1,000 yards [like] I did at 35, [and] they're hoping a 20-something-year-old kid can do [it too]. I think age is a number, and you either show your age and that number over time … But right now, I feel good, and I'm playing well, so I think 36 is good."
On when he started receiving questions about playing at his age: "Probably after the height questions stopped. (laughter) It's just one of those things that … I don't know. [The media] always seems to have some question [about] either height, prototype or age. It's always something. I don't know."
On how impressed he is with the young wide receivers: "The high draft picks, they're at the NFL Premiere stuff, so I haven't had a chance to see them. But the young guys are coming in there, they're trying to make a splash, make a play. I think the older guys – myself included, Kamar [Aiken], Marlon [Brown], Jeremy Butler, Aldrick [Robinson] – all these guys are trying to make plays themselves. I think it's a hungry, collective group of guys that want to fill that role of Torrey [Smith] departing, so I think that's a healthy, great competition. And guys are, I think, with the draft and the guys who maybe thought they would step into that role now have to fight for it. And I think competition always produces the best out of everybody within a squad of offense. Obviously, defense, offense – that gets a little fiery – but within offense, guys are rooting for each other. But, healthy completion is good."
On WR DeAndre Carter looking up to him as a player: "He was probably looking at the same height; we're right there." (laughter) (Reporter: "How much do you embrace that role of a mentor and trying to take some of these guys under your wing?") "Well, I don't really try to embrace that part. All I do is try to teach if I see something. I feel like I can learn something from them just like they feel like they can learn something from me. So, I may see a guy do a release, and I'll jot down a note for myself. And then I may see something, and I'll tell them. I just really look at it as really two professionals evaluating each other and giving out some great input and that's really it. [It is] less of [being a] mentor, more of just having a conversation. If you walk in there like, 'Hey, I'm the older guy…' I just go in there [and say], 'Look, I can learn from you; you can learn from me.' I learned some great stuff from Torrey [Smith]. I texted Torrey … Honestly, I texted him [about] when it was a year ago right as free agency [started], kind of [when] OTAs started, offseason conditioning, [and] I said, 'A year ago, I took a chance, came here and became good friends [with others], and I have lifetime friends.' And now he's taking a chance and going somewhere else, but our relationship is still there, our families still talk. I'm actually going to be in Palo Alto in July, so we're going to hook up together. So, that's part of the deal."
On how long it took to get over losing in the Divisional Round of the playoffs last season: "When I packed up my condo and I drove home, I had seven-and-a-half hours to think about it. And I walked to the door, touched the door handle, and I was done. [I was] moving on and got to be dad and doing all the stuff and traveling. So, moving on and [now] getting out here and learning some of the new nuances of the offense … There is a lot going on, so it's kind of hard to stay too far in the past when you have so many things moving forward with a new offensive coordinator."
On how similar the offense is to last season's: "I think some of the things … The verbiage is the same, and some of it's new. If you don't listen very carefully, you can easily get tricked. So, it's good. It keeps you sharp."
On whether he thought about not playing this year during the offseason: "I was pretty sure I was coming back. I left here knowing what my plans were, and my family knew what the plans were."
On how comfortable he is with QB Joe Flacco now: "Well, we're so comfortable, we played rock, paper, scissors to see who came up here first, and obviously, I lost. (laughter) But I'm coming back for him."
On what he likes about WR DeAndre Carter: "I like [that] he's hungry. I'm biased – he's a West Coast guy. I just love his attitude. I see a young Randall Cobb in him, but I think he can play inside or outside. I'm excited to watch him play."
On how he has built chemistry with QB Joe Flacco: "It's easy to … With Joe, it is really easy to get chemistry. He's a laid back guy. He likes to play ball. He likes it a certain way, I like it a certain way, we get on the same page, and it's fine. It's actually really simple to get with Joe."
DT Brandon Williams
On what he has seen from DT Timmy Jernigan so far: "Same thing we expected to see – him stepping up, him making plays and doing what he does best, and that's be in the backfield and fight every play."
On what it meant when the Ravens traded DT Haloti Ngata: "It tells me I just have to step up, [and] we have to do more. I accept the challenge, willingly, to get out there and do everything I have to do to be my best player, be my best self. And that goes for everybody else on the defensive line. We don't need anybody to be Haloti. We just need everybody to be their best selves, and we'll be fine."
On what it means to have a veteran like ILB Daryl Smith at voluntary practices: "It means a lot seeing a guy of that stature who has been in the league that long coming out here and putting the work in just like us. You can play with a guy like that. You can believe in a guy like that. You can trust him being behind you calling plays and calling shots, and actually listen to what he's doing. It means a lot to see him out here working."
On the type of training he did in the offseason: "A lot of footwork stuff. Definitely getting my body back, get right. Definitely a lot of massages and hand motions, get-off drills, stuff like that. A lot more things that … [I] worked out in the offseason with Haloti [Ngata], just seeing what he was doing and putting that in the repertoire and move forward with that."
On how he liked working with a piece of agility equipment during practice: "It's a lot different with a helmet on. (laughter) That's the first time we did it with a helmet on, so you have to get your eye-hand coordination back. It was good though."
On how much of an impact players like DE Kapron Lewis-Moore and DE Brent Urban will make coming off of injury: "Before they got hurt they were balling, so we expect the same thing now – them coming out giving everything they have. 'Kap' [Kapron Lewis-Moore] is giving it his all. He has been out of football for a while, but he's coming back. He's looking strong, he's looking good. And 'Urb' [Brent Urban], same thing. We expect them to bounce back and get right back in it."
On whether he participated in mixed martial arts with a trainer to develop hand quickness: "No. No mixed martial arts, nothing like that. Just bags, hands, get the gloves on and hit the gloves and all that stuff." (Reporter: "Boxing?")* "Yes."
Transcripts: First OTA Media Availability
RAVENS FIRST OTA MEDIA AVAILABILITY