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Transcripts: Minicamp Media Availability (6/13)


Opening statement: "[It's] good to see everybody. [I] really appreciate you being here. The Marine Corps Foundation that we have here awarded three scholarships for academic excellence, and we're really proud of doing that, and these three young people are amazing people. (Students introduce themselves). Congratulations. Our future leaders right there. Congratulations. How about that. Is that impressive? That's a resume right there. That's big credentials. We had a good practice, and we're excited about what we've accomplished. [I'm] looking forward to where we're going. Even though the players will be away, they'll still be training and working to get ready for training camp and what's in store there, so that's our next step."

I didn't see CB Marlon Humphrey out there and we haven't seen him do a lot out there. What's he been doing? (Jamison Hensley) "Just nagging things. He should be ready for training camp. It shouldn't be a problem."

We've seen TE Charlie Kolar get a little bulkier? this year. Is that a little boost of confidence for his position? (David Andrade) "Yeah, he looks good. Charlie has worked really hard. He's put on a lot of muscle, lean muscle mass, and I know he's committed to all the aspects of being a good tight end. He wants to be a really good blocker; I know that's important to him, and he's preparing himself just for that."

LB Roquan Smith, All-Pro, Pro Bowler, he's been here for all the voluntary workouts and camps. He had a really big day today with his play. Just how does he lead by example and showing the other guys how to be a pro? (Todd Karpovich) "That's exactly what he does, he does lead by example, but he does it every way. He's also a vocal leader, he's also kind of an inspirational leader. He does it on the field; he does it in the weight room; he does it in the meeting room. He's just one those guys – one of those special kind of guys."

Are guys able to separate it all without pads on the offensive line? (Kirk McEwen) "No not really. Not really. That'll be for training camp. I think they've done – all of those guys have done what they needed to do, in terms of preparing for that, but that'll happen [in] the first few weeks of training camp and then on into the preseason games. We'll see where we go."

WR Qadir Ismail was working with the tight ends for individuals. Is that a consideration of having him work in at that position, or just exploring options? (Kyle Phoenix) "It's exploring options. Everything nowadays, you put them in groups, you call them tight ends and wide receivers, but a lot of times, they do the same jobs. Having him over there working on some of those techniques was what we were doing. He'll probably be kind of an inside receiver type of a guy; not to say that he couldn't go outside and go get fades and things like that, he's so big. I would say he's really looked good. He's had a nice camp. [He] signed as a tryout player. Obviously, he's got a family pedigree – it's incredible – but he's doing it all on his own, and he made a couple of catches today. He looked good out there."

TE Isaiah Likely, knowing what he can do over the last couple of years. He's made quite a few wild plays this week. How impressed have you been with him? (Cordell Woodland) "[I'm] happy with Isaiah [Likely], I guess as expected, and [his] work ethic too. [He's] locked in every single day, [he's] been here every day. [He's] another guy that's been here every day. There's so many of the guys that have done that, and it shows. He's talented. He's going to be a big part of what we do."

A few days ago, you said that one of your big takeaways from the AFC Championship is that you want to get the ball more in the quarterback's hands. What does that look like to you so far through minicamp? (Giana Han) "Talking about all of the pre-snap stuff, operational-type stuff at the line, in of the huddle, out the huddle, at the line. Trying to make some decisions at the line, in terms of growing the offense in that direction. It's looked good, but we still have a long way to go. I think everybody would tell you that. We have a lot of work to do with that, and it will be an ongoing process throughout the season, for sure, but that's the direction we're going."

Obviously, there are high expectations for LB Trenton Simpson settling in at inside linebacker. How do you think he's handled that this spring, running with the Ones, and how has he looked going into training camp? (Luke Jones) "I think he has looked really good. I think he's done a great job. Trenton [Simpson] is a quick learner – something even as simple as punt protection footwork. He played a little bit as a rookie; the first couple of days of the Phase Two stuff, he really didn't look very good with the footwork. Like everything else, we're chasing perfection. We're confronting every issue. We confronted the punt footwork, and now he looks fantastic. He's perfect in what he's doing out there. That's kind of an example of all of the other stuff he's doing on defense. He knows what he's doing out there. The next step will be training camp, preseason games and on from there."

FB Patrick Ricard is another guy who looks good. He said he's down about 10 pounds. He said he feels a little quicker. Last year, there was some sort of question or talk about how he might fit in given the kind of change in the offense, and we saw how that worked out. How do you sort of envision that growing, or how do you view that role after kind of seeing him out there? (Brian Wacker) "It'll evolve kind of the direction it goes, in terms of where the offense goes and what we need, but there's always going to be a requirement for a guy like Pat [Ricard], if you have a guy like Pat. The questions last year were pretty much kind of debunked. He played a lot, and I think it's going to be the same thing this year. You've got a good football player; you have to put him out there. He'll be out there playing, and we'll find a lot of great roles for him to do. The nice thing is, he can actually run routes and catch the ball, and that's something that people kind of take for granted that he wouldn't be able to do. I can remember Coach [Wade] Phillips out here – I love Coach Phillips – when he was [the] defensive coordinator for the [Los Angeles] Rams, basically saying, 'Don't cover [No.] 42, he's a defensive lineman.' The very next play, he caught a touchdown pass in the flat. That's right, don't cover [No.] 42." (laughter)

What was the getaway message to the guys and your message to them as they go on this six-week break on their own before training camp? (Shawn Stepner) "There's a lot of good messages – probably the ones you'd expect to hear – but really, there's intentionality to everything we do. There should be a plan in terms of what we're trying to accomplish every day. So, 'What are you trying to accomplish for the next weeks that lead into training camp to put you in position to have the best training camp to handle the loads involved, become the best team we can be and be intentional about that every single day.' That's the core of the message."

Can you talk about S Ar'Darius Washington, a guy who's delt with injuries and flashed out there in practice a lot? (Ryan Mink) "Ar'Darius [Washington] has looked really good. Yes, I feel great about him. He's already established himself. He's played in the games – every game he's played in, he's played well. He's looked great in practice, and let's get him out there and get him in some more games. That's the goal."

Knowing that you can't control what these guys are doing while they are away, QB Lamar Jackson was talking about trying to get guys together in Florida. Is it your hope that they will get together? (Jerry Coleman) "Yes, I mean, it's how you worded the question. [Lamar Jackson] was going to try to get those guys together, and he's excited about that, and that's great. That's cool."

How excited are you to face off against your brother, Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh, this season? (Lena Jackson) "I'm looking forward to it, I guess. How excited was I to face off against him in a driveway when we were playing one-on-one hockey or one-on-one basketball or wrestling or when my dad said, 'Put the gloves on and go into the basement if you want to fight each other all the time?' So, I guess it was kind of exciting. Then again, it wasn't that great, especially when he got bigger. That got to be more and more challenging, so I think that day will come when it comes, so we're not really thinking about it too much, but when it comes, it will be kind of cool. It will be historic."

What have you seen from WR Malik Cunningham and his transition from quarterback? (Jamison Hensley) "Malik [Cunningham] has looked good at wide receiver. He's shown a lot of speed, a lot of quickness. [He's] kind of a natural at the position, and I've seen that he understands the game from the perspective of the quarterback, so [his] routes and coverage and timing and things like that have been excellent."


On how he feels in Year 11: "I feel great. [I'm] excited to be here, pumped to be a Raven, pumped to go into Year 11. Not many people get to say they did that. I beat [former Rams DT] Aaron Donald in one thing." (laughter)

On the biggest difference this year after coming in midseason last year: "The biggest difference is that everybody knows me now – the staff behind the scenes, just getting to know them and their families. Knowing them, [having] that relationship and just coming back with the guys that I already know, having that relationship with guys like Kyle Hamilton, Roquan [Smith], 'Daf' Odafe Oweh], and [David] Ojabo, guys like that that you get to come back with, [having] familiar faces and getting to know [them] better. And, knowing the defense – that helps. Coming back, and you know what you're doing – that just allows you to play a little bit faster."

On if he had a sense that he would be back after the season: "I always keep an open mind to everything. I felt like we had a good relationship, and it was open communication. We felt like it was a benefit to both parties and I'm happy to be here. [I] appreciate boss man 'Mr. B' [Owner Steve Bisciotti] and 'EDC' [executive vice president & general manager Eric DeCosta] and 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] for making that happen. [I'm] just pumped to be back with [my] teammates and repent for our sins after last year."

On if Zach Orr becoming the defensive coordinator factored into his decision: "I love 'Z.O.' [Zach Orr]. [I am] a big fan of his [and] have been since he played. He played the right way when he played, and he coaches the right way, too. 'Mike Mack' [Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald] going on, moving on, congrats to him again. It's awesome to see him and his efforts of what he did here. He got the benefits of that, becoming a head coach, which I believe he was ready for. And 'Z.O.' [defensive coordinator Zach Orr] stepping in, he's going to do a great job. He has a relationship, I would say, with everybody on defense. You don't see that everywhere you go. 'Z.O.' passions himself on relationships and communication. He's done a really good job of communicating what he wants done, and you better do it."

On the biggest differences with defensive coordinator Zach Orr's defense compared to last year: "I don't think I'll go into the specifics of that, because they both stem from the same tree, right? But, they're both different at the same time. You know, Mike Macdonald had his style, and 'Z.O.' [Zach Orr] has his style. I'm excited about 'Z.O.''s style. I think it's going to continue to flood into the NFL because of what they've been able to do here for so long, and I believe we're going to be a very, very good defense. It starts with him, and then it starts with the rest of the players executing – all 11 of us – each and every play."

On if he thinks defensive coordinator Zach Orr will be an aggressive play caller: "How do you know he's aggressive?" (laughter) "He was an aggressive player, so I think that's what you're going to want to see him [be] as a [defensive] coordinator, is be aggressive. But, he's also really smart – very, very smart. He knows defenses. He eats, breathes [and] sleeps football. That's what you want – playing for a coach like that, who has literally dedicated his – I believe it's 32 years now – just straight football."

On what he has seen from OLB Tavius Robinson: "Honestly, [he's] getting better every day. I know that's cliche to say, but he's honestly getting better each and every day. He's doing the right things. Every time you understand concepts and defenses, you graduate from football 101 to football 102, [and] you're going to see improvements. I think his familiarity of understanding the defense more and more each day, he's allowed to play faster, play with more confidence and swagger. I think that's what we're going to see this year."

On if there is a benefit to spending more time with the players, coaches and staff heading into this season: "I think it's good because – I say this without saying it in the wrong way – the bullets aren't flying yet. So, you get you get a better understanding that things are a little bit more calm, [and] you can build relationships. You're not on the field, popping in Week Three [while] action is going on, [saying] 'Hey, what's your name' type of deal. So, it's fun to be around guys that I know and get to know them [and] their families, hang out with them off the field [and] build that relationship to when things get on the field and [it's] a little hazy, you have a better understanding of where each and every person is coming from."

On OLB Odafe Oweh's ceiling: "He's impressive, man. He's a specimen. [I've] really enjoyed working with him, building that relationship. I try to keep him next to me all the time and make sure he's always pressing and doing the right thing. I expect high, high ... I expect more from him than myself. I really expect him to bounce off the charts this year. He showed a lot of signs last year, but I think [with] him gaining confidence, understanding who he is – he's still maturing. I just asked him how the hell old was he today, and he said '25.' It's amazing to see how mature he's gotten already. I'm excited to see his future, and I'll be his cheerleader, that's for sure. I'm sorry I'm saying this again, but I'm really excited to see how high of a ceiling he can get to."

On how much last season rejuvenated him and his career and his expectations for himself this year: "I just want to continue to show myself and show people that I can still play at a high level. I feel like I've been underappreciated in my career. I don't think I've lost a step – in my eyes – just because I've been playing different positions my entire career. In college, I played on the ball, and then in the NFL for my first – I think it was until 2019 – I played off the ball. I would love to see how many people could stay in the league making that transformation. Or, I've been asked to do both in one season. So, I've been asked to do a lot, and I think that may have hindered some things because I wasn't able to focus on pass rush or covering people. I was never able to focus on just one specific thing. This year, stemming from last year, I was able to focus on pass rush that entire time. I feel like hopefully – it'll be like my third year ever out of my 11 that I get to focus on just pass rushing. The other year was in 2019, where I had a really good year. Last year was just all pass rush. So, I'm expecting big things from myself, and hopefully you guys are, too."


On dealing with injuries last year: "Injuries happen in the year, and you've just got to overcome those injuries and just push past them, which I think I'm pretty good at doing."

On if he's been naturally vocal during minicamp or if he's emphasized leading in that way: "I mean, I've always been a leader; I've always been vocal. That's just something I've been doing. If you've been out here the last couple of years that I've been here, I've been doing the same thing. So, it's nothing new to me; it's just something that's true to me."

On defensive coordinator Zach Orr: "I'm excited. You've got a guy [in defensive coordinator Zach Orr] who's been out there on the field, done what we've done, and now he's transitioning to the 'DC' [defensive coordinator] job, which I think he's doing a good job of right now. He's going to put us in some good positions to make some plays and dial it up. So, I'm excited to see what our future holds for this year, and I hope he comes out there and does exactly what he knows he's going to do."

On what defensive coordinator Zach Orr's defense could look like: "His defense."

On the ascension of S Kyle Hamilton and his role in helping him along: "Kyle [Hamilton] has always been a good player. He's worked his butt off day in and day out. I mean, I've helped him here and there, but that's all his doing; that's his work, his offseason work, his film room work. I don't take credit for any of the stuff that he's done. He's a great player, and he's put in the time and the effort to go out there and make those plays. He's confident, and you see that by his play. So, [with] him just putting that time in and respecting the process, he comes out there, and he performs."

On how eager he is to show everybody what he can do as a healthy player with two functioning arms this year: "My arms are always functioning." (laughter) "It's not about showing anybody anything; it's about showing myself what I can do. I never worry about showing anybody what I can do. I just stay true to me and go out there, perform to the best of my ability no matter what's going on, and that's just ... As football players, you've got to overcome adversity and face that, look it in the eye and just never give up."

On the expectations of the secondary: "We've just got to find that identity coming out in training camp; that's the most important thing – have that good camaraderie. And this is a new year – this is not who we were last year – so now we've got to bond over again and reconnect on that level. But I think we'll be some high playmakers back there, physical guys, attacking the ball and [taking] the ball away."

On his impressions of S Ar'Darius Washington, S Tre Swilling and other young safeties he's been able to work with in S Kyle Hamilton's absence during minicamp: "Yes, it's always been [a] next-man-up mentality. Even if somebody is not here right now, we're all still working. And [Kyle Hamilton] is still out here acting as if he's a coach. Kyle thinks he's a coach now or something." (laughter) "But no, I think they're doing a great job, leaning the playbook, and everybody is pretty much interchangeable in our defense, [and] everybody learns every position so [that] they know what to do. Going out there and having it in practice, [helps] us perform for the upcoming season."

On his thoughts about being one of the NFL's best safety duos, alongside S Kyle Hamilton: "Rankings don't mean anything. Performance from last year is not performance from this year. We know what we can do. We know what type of players we are. We're confident in ourselves. I mean, I think I'm the best; [Kyle Hamilton] thinks he's the best; everybody thinks they're the best. But who performs the best? So, I think our expectation is to be our best, to excel past our best and go out there and perform and help us win some games."

On his messaging to the guys as everybody goes their separate ways before training camp: "Right now, it's just, 'Stay smart. Get your mind right, get ready for the season [and] get healthy, because it's a long season ahead.'"

On how close he feels physically to being back to himself: "I've been myself. This has been me. When you ask about injuries, I'm going to tell you the same thing. I've been me. This is me. I'm just [going to] continue to get better."

On his impressions of CB Nate Wiggins so far: "Man, [Nate Wiggins] is fast. He's in and out of breaks. I think he's going to be a good player for us. This has just been OTAs [organized team activities], but you see him flying around already. Once these pads come on, we'll see a little bit more of what he can do, so I'm excited for that."

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