You might have seen that yesterday the NFL released an offseason virtual workout sort of idea. It will be three weeks and starts April 27th. Did you get a look at it, and what do you think of it? (David Ginsburg) "I did see that there is a week of Phase One, a week of Phase Two, and like three weeks of Phase Three; all virtually. I just breezed over it quickly, but I think it's good just to get the team together. We all have to find ways to deal with the situation that we are in, so I think it's a good idea, given the circumstances that everybody is under."
You get 235 dollars a day. Now that's big money for you. (laughter) (David Ginsburg) "Not much changes for me. I kind of have my own program that I go through in the offseason anyway – training, therapy, rehab, and treatment down here in Florida – that I have been doing the last three or four years. So, not much is going to change for me. I'm still on my same program, working out, and getting the work in that I need to prepare myself for the season."
Do you guys have a sense that there is some unfinished business from the way the season ended last year in the playoff loss to the Titans? (Todd Karpovich) "Yes, of course. Obviously, we had dreams and aspirations of winning the whole thing, and unfortunately, we came out and didn't play our best game. Give those guys credit. They took advantage of some of our mistakes. It was just a little bit too much to overcome, and we just ran out of time. We didn't play well, and I think everybody will grow and learn from that. You can't afford to have off-games in the playoffs. Everyone has to be on point. Everyone has to be focused. You have to take every play with high intensity and high focus, because there are always a few plays that change a game and [ultimately] decide a game. You never know when those plays are going to arise, or when those plays are going to take place, so you have to be on point at all moments and all times, all season, and especially in the playoffs."
What's it like having four young kids at home during this time? (Ryan Mink) (laughter) "Man, it's crazy. They are just always full of energy, so we have to find ways just to keep them occupied and keep them busy; obviously, keep them learning. We go on a family walk every day, so the two oldest, they ride their little bikes three miles, and the two small one's ride in the stroller. When we get home, they swim, ride their bikes, scooters, play in the house and watch [stuff] on their iPad sometimes. [The] iPad time is crucial, so we can have our sanity a little bit during the day and have a little quiet time. It's great. I just try to look at it as a positive, and I get to spend a lot of time with them right now, so that makes me happy."
Does it make it a little bit harder to train at the level you would normally be training at this period, just because kids wear you out, generally speaking? (Ryan Mink) "I get up early and go get my work in, so when I leave the house, the house is kind of quiet. I try to get my work in and get back home before they are up and functioning. But, when I get home, they are wired and ready to go. My wife does a great job. She's awesome. My sister is here, so a few extra hands definitely helps. I'm still able to get my work in, and still able to be daddy daycare, as well. It's a teamwork thing; it's a family thing right now, so all hands on deck helps at this time."
If there is a reduced training camp – you've been through this, and you know how much time is needed – how much time do you think players would need? As far as training camp goes, in order to get ready for a regular season? (Jamison Hensley) "I think, just the normal training camp period. I think that's a good amount of time. It has to be something around that – three, four, five weeks. The preseason and three or four weeks. Teams just being together, going through training camp, and being able to scrimmage other teams and play against other teams – I think all of that is crucial to the camaraderie of a team, and the development of your players on the team. I think it is all necessary in order to prepare yourself mentally, physically, individually and collectively, to have a successful season."
The Ravens have the 28th pick in the NFL Draft. You were picked at 28, and your dad was picked at 28. What are the Ravens, potentially, getting at 28? (Shawn Stepner) "They have to be getting a legend, right? At 28, they have to be picking a legend. (laughter) Hopefully, we get a high-impact player; a player who can come in right away, be an impact player for us, and help us win championships. A good player, good teammate and good person. I don't expect anything less from the Ravens organization, because that's what we have on our team. Good guys, who love to work hard and want to win championships. I see nothing less than the type of player who fits that mold."
You might've seen that [Panthers running back] Christian McCaffrey signed a deal that gets him 16 million dollars a year. Were you a little surprised at that, given that some of the other top running backs in the league, not of course counting yourself, counting like [Todd] Gurley, David Johnson, [Devonta] Freeman, sort of burned out quickly? Do you think that's a high price for a running back? Or is that what one would deserve? (David Ginsburg) "No, I think he deserves that – 1,000 yards rushing, 1,000 yards receiving. He's just a high percentage or a high volume of that offense, and he's an impact player. Why should a running back be treated less than another position? All these other positions get high numbers. Why is it that the running back is subject to that? Why does the running back have to be the red-headed stepchild? I think he deserves that number. His value on the team, his value across the league, his leadership, everything. I think he deserves that, and I think other running backs deserve bigger contracts as well. Todd, obviously he's taken a pay cut, but still it's kind of like a cooler deal for him. Hopefully, Derrick [Henry] gets somewhere around there. Alvin [Kamara] is coming up. All these young running backs. [Ezekiel] 'Zeke' [Elliott], he was at like 15 [million], I think. I think when David [Johnson] signed, he was around like 10 [million] or 13 [million], something like that. I don't know what the numbers were exactly, but I think running backs deserve to get compensated for what they do. Running the ball, catching the ball, being able to block – running back is essential to the success of a team. I feel like we should be treated as such. I'm all for his [McCaffrey's] deal. I'm excited for his deal. Hopefully, the running back market keeps increasing."
Leagues all around the world – not just the NFL, not just the U.S. – leagues all around the world are trying to figure out the best way, the best time, to get their sports back on the field. Some are talking about doing it in front of empty seats, empty stadiums. Where would you stand on the NFL possibly playing in empty stadiums? Do you feel at all that if it's not safe for fans, it's not safe for players? (Gerry Sandusky) "I just want everyone to be safe. I want everyone to be healthy. I hope we all overcome this thing together, and obviously, I want to play football on time and in front of fans. You play with the energy from your home crowd. You play with your teammates against everybody else on the road, from their energy from their crowd – we feed off that as well. It's just a great aspect of the game. It's a big part of the reason why we all love to play week-in and week-out, is that energy in the stadium from the fans. Hopefully, people can get healthy. Hopefully, everybody can be safe and be able to go about business as usual. But, if we didn't have to play with fans, I still love the game, I still love to play, and I still want to be a champion and I want to be the best I can be. Whatever the situation may be, I just hope we're playing ball and I just hope that everybody is healthy and safe."
It sounds like, from what you were saying earlier, it's been business as usual for yourself as you prepare for the season. Have you been able to maintain that and do everything you normally do? Or do you have to kind of come up with ways to get the work in that you feel like you need at this time? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Yes, I mean, usually we're at the facility with all of our equipment and things like that, but everywhere is basically closed. So, you kind of have to be creative and go back to the basics. We all didn't have these elaborate facilities or places to work out when we were growing up. Just finding space where you can still have social distancing, still be able to work hard, still be able to get your work in – whether it's some empty grass somewhere, a garage, backyard. I got some step-up boxes, a spin bike, dumbbells. One of my good friends has some space in his backyard, a basketball court, so I could do some plyometric things and drills, ladder drills, things like that. I think you just need to be creative, be safe, still be able to have that social distancing aspect of it, still be able to get your work in and prepare yourself physically. That's what I'm doing, just being creative and finding different ways to be able to get your work in."
This time of year, you guys are usually apart as teammates, but given the circumstances and the uncertainty that everyone is going through, have guys reached out more than they otherwise would? As a team leader, are you reaching out to some young guys about what might be ahead? (Mark Viviano) "I think we all just kind of stay in touch. We all talk regularly. It's not like we talk every day – [we talk] a couple times a week, a couple times every couple weeks, a couple times a month. We've all got things we're doing, we're all working, we have families. Guys are doing different things, different agendas, different schedules. We all kind of just keep in touch, whether it's on the phone, texting, whether we FaceTime, whether it's over social media – there's just a lot of avenues to stay in contact with everybody. Yes, we're all definitely staying close. Just making sure everybody is working, making sure everybody is healthy, making sure everybody is good, their families are good. We're all keeping tabs on each other. We're going to work, and we're going to get better with the circumstances. It's a challenge, but we're going to find a way to get through it and be a better team."
Did you see that [running backs] Gus Edwards and Justice Hill are quarantining together? Did you try to get an invite on that? (Ryan Mink) "Yes, I saw them doing their little 'TikTok' things. Justice was giving Gus a [hair]cut. Hopefully, he didn't mess him up, push his [hair]line back or anything. But no, I didn't want an invite. I'm down here in Florida with my family, chilling. They can kick it and enjoy each other's company for right now in Baltimore in their little quarantine house, or wherever they're at being safe and having their fun. I want to stay down here in Florida with the palm trees and sun, and my kids and my wife, and just keep working that way."
You went to the Combine and got a firsthand look at some of these running back prospects. Do you remember which guys you liked, and what would your thoughts be if the Ravens did draft a running back? (Ryan Mink) "I don't think I've been in the league a year where a running back hadn't been drafted or acquired. Running back is always a position you try to have depth and quality. So, if that did happen, that's just what it is. We're going to welcome that young running back and try to make him better, try to make the team better. That's just the gist of it. There's always going to be somebody younger trying to come in. They're always looking for new talent, new people at every position. Competition is a part of it. You can't be scared of competition – it breeds excellence. Whatever we do, I'm sure it would be good."
I've heard people mention that with an abbreviated offseason continuity will be really important – having the same coaching staff, same teammates. Is that something you agree with, and how might that play out with regards to the Ravens? (Aaron Kasinitz) "I think that is very important with any team – the continuity of a team, the camaraderie of a team, being able to learn together, being able to apply what you're learning on the field together, being able to work together. The blood, the sweat and the tears that you acquire together over weeks and weeks and weeks and days and days and days of hard work, stacking those days with a team, that's special, and that's how you develop that bond and that brotherhood. So, I think returning with the same coaching staff and the same players, obviously, we'll probably have an advantage over someone with a new coaching staff and players that don't really know each other, but I think the virtual thing will help keep everybody on point that way. I think it will be fine. You just have to be able to overcome these obstacles, just have to be able to overcome it. There's always challenges that teams have to overcome, and this is just one we have to overcome right now."
I know you've seen QB Lamar Jackson this offseason. Did you get a sense when you saw him how eager he is to get back and finish what you guys started? (Garrett Downing) "He's excited. He just knows that we left some stuff out there. We all know that. We want to go get it back. He's excited about the season coming up. He's excited about putting the work [in] leading up to the season. He's excited about our team, and we're all behind him 100,000 percent. We always let him know that, and he's going to be great. He's going into his third year, really his second year-and-a-half starting, so he's going to keep having leaps and bounds of improvement. And I can't wait to see it."
You showed last year not only that you are still at your peak, but that you still have a lot of love for the game. Are you motivated to maybe push the envelope of how long people think a running back can be good? How long can he be at the top? How long he can be effective? I'm just curious, because it seems like, obviously, you're playing like a guy who's nowhere near the end of the line. (Cliff Brown) "Yes, that's how I feel, man. I'm just blessed and thankful the Lord has my body feeling this way. I'm with a great team that takes care of me, and I feel like I can play this game at a high level – at the highest level – for at least another four or five years. I feel like that. I honestly do. My body feels good. I'm moving good. I have nothing really lagging. If I do, I'll be working on it, rehabbing it, strengthening it up so all my weaknesses are turning into my strengths. I just want to be the best, man. I want to be one of the best. When you talk about running backs who had long, prestigious careers, I want to be in that discussion. I want to be talked about that way. I just want to be the best player that I can be. I want to win championships, and I want to do it at a high level, and I feel like I can do that for a long time. So, God willing, I have health and all that. But yes, it's not to prove anybody wrong, but it's basically to prove everyone who believed in me all this time right. And myself, I have goals for myself, man, so I'm chasing them really hard, and I just feel like I'm going to keep getting better with the experience, with the knowledge and how I'm training and taking care of my body mentally, physically [and] emotionally. My family [giving] me support – I just feel like I can play this game at a high level for a long time."
The last time the NFL's offseason was really significantly impacted was your rookie year in 2011. So, I'm curious as to what kind of impact you think that could have on the rookies this year with not having a full offseason like you typically would? (Andrew Gillis) "Yes, that was definitely a challenge coming in in the lockout year. I got drafted, and essentially, my first day with the team officially was the first day of training camp. Actually, it was the second day of training camp. So, that's something that will be difficult. The one good thing about it when I came in, [Saints QB] Drew Brees, he would fly guys in and put them up, and we'd have kind of run-through practices just as players. But, you can't even do that right now, so I think the virtual aspect that they put in, I think that'll be key for the learning curve of young players. And like I said, man, it's just a tough situation that we're all dealing with, the entire world really. We all want to make it better. We want everyone to get healthy. These are the circumstances that we're dealing with, so I think with the virtual thing, the Zoom stuff and all that, I think we'll find ways to keep our young players up to speed."
I saw you making comments when G Marshal Yanda retired about you being on him all year, and obviously, you weren't successful in talking him out of retirement. Just curious, how much of a challenge do you think that will be for the Ravens offense not having Yanda? And is there anything you can do as a vet, even though that's not your position, to try to help the running offense along? That's a big part of this offense's game. (Cliff Brown) "There's never really replacing somebody like Marshal [Yanda], a player of that caliber, a person, character, all of that, man. There's really no replacing him. You can hopefully replace him with another great player that can carve out their own destiny, carve out their own legacy. I think it'll be fine. We've got some young guys that can step up and fill that role. I know we have draft picks, so I know they're looking to probably improve that position and improve all positions. I think that's the goal of your draft – improve the team – but I think filling that void is not going to be easy. It's going to take somebody that's smart, that's physical, loves the game. We just have great coaches, a great team and great scouts, great front office, so I have no doubt that we'll have the right players to plug in and play at a high level, at a championship level. So, I'm not worried about it."
Just because it's making its rounds on social media, I feel like I have to ask: QB Lamar Jackson's tattoo – faith, family and football I'm reading is kind of the big themes here, but you can't help but notice the way that 'Truzz' is spelled. So, if you could set the record straight, is it two S's or two Z's at the end [of the word]? (Bobby Trosset) "Man, you see what the man tatted on him. It's two Z's. (laughter) But Lamar [Jackson] is a trend setter. A lot of the things he does are catchy, and people catch on to it, so two Z's it is."
In this pandemic situation, as a parent, what do you think is cheaper? To rent a movie many times, or to produce and make a movie? (Ximena Lugo Latorre) "To rent the movie or produce and make the movie?" (Reporter: "Yes, and this is related to the movie Trolls.") Yes, I mean, I'm in that pandemic myself with the Trolls [World Tour] movie. It's 20 bucks [to rent] for 48 hours, and they [the kids] don't understand that it's for rent. I have to keep spending 20 dollars, so I wish that they would just give me the option to buy early or something, because by the end of all this thing, I'm probably going to spend 100 dollars or something. I don't know. I'm already on 40 dollars. They made me rent it again last night, so I think it's better to produce the movie. I think that's where you make the move. Produce the movie, drop the movie – a quality movie that everybody loves – and charge 20 dollars every 48 hours. I think that's the way to go." (laughter)
You touched on QB Lamar Jackson being a leader with some of the young guys. You see Lamar working out and he's not really social distancing with WR Marquise Brown and WR Antonio Brown and other guys. Did you reach out and say something like, 'Hey, that's great, but maybe work on keeping a distance?' (Pete Gilbert) "We all try to be safe, and we all try to ... If you are around somebody, you have to try and practice the social distancing. But we're trying to get that work in, so I kind of understand. But you just want to be safe. You just want to be safe and healthy and make sure everyone around you is safe and healthy. I didn't reach out to them or anything like that, but I think we're all just trying to do the best we can with the circumstances."