Transcripts: Monday Podium Transcripts from Philadelphia Joint Practices

Head Coach John Harbaugh

*Opening statement: *“Good to see everybody – appreciate you guys being here. [It was] a great day. We appreciate the Eagles’ hospitality. Obviously, a first-rate organization, Mr. [Jeffrey] Lurie right on down through everyone else. Doug [Pederson] has been great. I thought the players were great, coaches were great, we got a lot of good work done, and we’re happy we came.”

*We’ve done this before. What did you get out of today’s practice being the first one? _(Howard Eskin)_ *“The best thing is, I think the tempo ramps up a little bit. You get different guys, different schemes. I do think it notches over one or two clicks, which is good for you, and it’s good for us to see. This is a really talented football team, the Eagles, so we get a chance see some really good players and go up against guys who are practicing hard and fast. Our goal is to be a better team two days from now than we were today.”

Are these things maybe better than what the games are? (Howard Eskin) “I don’t answer … I haven’t been with you in Philly for a while, but I don’t answer comparison questions. So, the games are great. The practices are great. Everything is great, and we love it all. (laughter) We do. Hey, if they schedule them, we’re going to be there. We’ll show up.”

We’re going to talk to assistant special teams coach Randy Brown. How much of an asset has he been over the time that he’s been with the Ravens? (Jamison Hensley) “I’ve known Randy since ’98. He spent a lot of time here, right on these fields here, working with guys, David Akers and Dirk Johnson and others, and just has done a great job over many years. Obviously, you see the results with our kickers in Baltimore, and he continues to do it. Now, he’s in an even larger role for us. He’s doing a great job. He’s a heck of a coach, and I’m glad he’s on our side.”

What can you tell us about G/T Jermaine Eluemunor’s and RB Mark Ingram II’s standing? (Shawn Stepner) “I don’t have any updates on that.”

QB Lamar Jackson said, I think after the game, that the red zone was a bigger focus for him this offseason. What are some of the things that are especially important for him in the red zone? (Aaron Kasinitz) “The red zone is tough. The red zone is faster. Coverage is tighter. Things have to be executed more quickly, more decisively. The windows are going to be closing quicker, and they’re smaller. Timing is really important. Execution is everything. So, for a young quarterback, it’s a fast game as it is, but that much faster in the red zone. And that’s where you score points. We can’t be down there kicking too many field goals. We’ll take them, but touchdowns count for a lot more, so that’s the point.”

There were a lot of people watching WR Marquise Brown go up against another team for the first time. What did you see there? _(Ken Weinman) _“He basically practiced for the first time in a more aggressive setting, so I saw a guy that was practicing for the first time. So, we’ll see it on tape. He just needs to get accustomed to it. It’s all new for him – the speed of it, the thinking, the lining up, running the right route. He has a ways to go with all of that. I’m confident he’ll get there, and we’ll know what to do to use him, how to use him early in the season. But, it’s just great work for him.”

How helpful is it for the secondary to get to play together against another team? (Jordan Schatz) “As opposed to practicing against ourselves? It’s great, because you see different routes, see different combinations in the passing game that we haven’t seen, see different quarterbacks, different receivers; you cover different guys. All that is valuable for us.”

Do you have any updates on WR Miles Boykin? (Aaron Kasinitz) “No, I don’t. I don’t have any injury updates.”

Assistant Special Teams Coach Randy Brown

Opening statement: “I just wanted to say a couple words before I start: I want to thank Steve [Bisciotti, owner], Dick [Cass, president], Eric [DeCosta, executive vice president & general manager], Ozzie [Newsome, executive vice president], Jerry [Rosburg, former special teams coordinator], and especially ‘Harbs’ [head coach John Harbaugh]. Twelve years ago, when John Harbaugh decided to have a kicking coach, he selected me as one of the only few guys in the entire National Football League to coach kickers. The Wolfpack [K Justin Tucker, P/H Sam Koch and LS Morgan Cox] gets credit, I get credit, Jerry gets credit, but really, the credit goes to John Harbaugh for having the foresight to say, ‘Yeah, we can have a coach coach kickers.’ I owe everything to John. His friendship is wonderful. The Browns and Harbaughs – my son coaches at Michigan, with Jim [Harbaugh]; I’m here with John, and if John and Jim retire, we’d love to coach for Jack [Harbaugh] (laughter). So, even if they don’t retire, if Jack comes out of retirement, we would coach for Jack.”

More teams are now starting to hire kicking coaches. Does that mean a lot to you?_ (Jeff Zrebiec)_“I think we’re up to five guys who just coach kickers now. And there are a bunch of special teams guys who have good backgrounds in kicking. What we do is such a finite, detailed job, and coaching that … When you coach special teams, and you have eight phases of 11 guys; that’s 88 guys. So, when you have somebody who can go ahead and focus in on the details of kicking, punting, long snapping, holding, it makes a difference. So, do I love to see it? Yes. Would I hope that there are 32 teams? Yes. But I think it’s going to take some more time. Minnesota has one now; Kaare [Vedvik] is out there. Chicago has one; Jamie Kohl is out there. So, there are a couple of teams. I hope it goes that route. It would be nice.”

What’s the secret to having so much success, not only with “The Wolfpack” and these guys, but with Kaare Vedvik and Wil Lutz, and other kickers throughout the league? (Garrett Downing)“When you look back, in Chicago, I had Jeff Jaeger, Todd Sauerbrun and Mike Horan to learn from. Jerry [Rosburg] had Phil Dawson, and John Harbaugh had David Akers here and Koy Detmer holding. So, when you put all that knowledge together, we were able to create, what we believe, is the right way to kick a football, punt a football, snap a football and hold a football. And it all starts with John creating that environment that allows us to do this. The stability by having Sam [Koch] – I think Sam’s going on his 50th year in the NFL (laughter) – Morgan [Cox] for 10 and Justin [Tucker] for eight … Having that continuity has really made it simple for us, because we know what to expect in all different scenarios. I think it’s big. Plus, when you look at what we do, we try to be perfect on every play – kicking, punting, long snapping, and kicking off the football.”

*Before you became full-time, while you were coaching and a mayor, talk about balancing two jobs like that._ (Jamison Hensley)_ *“Thankfully, John Harbaugh is a political science guy and loves politics, and he allowed me to be mayor for 12 years. When I was elected mayor in 2007, John got the job here about nine months after I was elected. So, after I promised 50,000 people I would represent them for four years, I figured, ‘Gosh, can I really leave right now, only a year in?’ But, credit to John and Dick [Cass] and Steve [Bisciotti] and Ozzie [Newsome] and Eric [DeCosta] to allow me to do both. But really, it’s the players that have said, ‘OK, we’ll take Randy on these days and at games, because at least he’s here for that time.’ Without those guys, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. And it was hard. My wife, Trisha, is here with my daughters, Mackenzie and Ryan, and my son and my brother, Rick, and without them minding if I drive 20,000 miles a year, I don’t know if I would have done it. But, we did it. We made it to this. Now, we get to coach special teams with [special teams coach] Chris Horton and [assistant special teams coach] T.J. Weist.”

You’re kind of close by here. Does it mean anything to come out here and help the kickers while being so close to home?_ (Jamison Hensley)_“It’s great to be home again. I live 12 miles away. So, instead of a 125-mile trip, I make a 12-mile trip here. It’s good. When we were here in 2004, 2005, with John [Harbaugh], my dear friend Mike Bartrum [Eagles assistant tight ends coach] is coaching for the Eagles here … Mike was our long snapper. It’s great to be here in Philly again, but I would never give up my 125-mile drive to see ‘The Wolfpack’ and see Chris [Horton] and T.J. [Weist] every day. It’s heaven, really. They say, in ‘Field of Dreams,’ ‘Is this Iowa or heaven?’ Baltimore is heaven for me.”

What was the biggest challenge for you as mayor? (Jamison Hensley)“The biggest challenge was answering … You know how nice constituents are when you’re the elected official, and how understanding they are when you don’t get back to them when a deer is dead in their front lawn, when their trash can was ruined, and when their street wasn’t plowed on a very snowy day? (laughter) They’re very patient when it comes to responses.(laughter) So, even though they’re watching you on TV coach a game … You should see the emails and texts, or the phone calls my wife would get: ‘The mayor hasn’t responded to me.’ ‘Well, do you understand he’s coaching a game right now?’ And by the way, that mayor job paid me $300 a month to be mayor.(laughter) _Yeah, exactly, my eyes [opened] the same. My wife’s [eyes were] the same. So, it was tough to juggle it all, but the constituents, the ones who really didn’t like me, they made sure they made my life difficult.” _(laughter)

S Earl Thomas III

*On if the intensity of practice ramps up going against another team: *“Yes, it does. I think what I’ve drawn from the last two joint practices are the competitive juices that you get from going against a new team. Plus, you’re going against … Carson Wentz is not a pushover, so it’s good to go against him. It’s good to go against that offense. The tight ends are pretty good, receivers are really good, so it’s a great challenge for us.”

*On where he feels like he is with being accustomed to the defense: *“I was feeling great until I started cramping up. (laughter) It was hot. It was a dog day. I felt really good. Communication is great, but we’re still working on it. They got a deep ball on me – which I hate, that kind of ruins my whole practice – on the post. But, quarterbacks throw interceptions, too, so I have to forget about it and come out here tomorrow and try to get one.”

*On if it will be significant to face a starting quarterback in a preseason game, given that the defense faced backup quarterbacks in their first two games: *“Yes, it will be great. It will be great to face live bullets when we can unleash the dogs up front and see how he reacts to that. And then, if we make mistakes, it’s going to only make us better.”

*On if it was emotional for him to play last week: *“Last week, I think the tunnel entrance, that was pretty emotional, I guess. I felt the energy. I felt good. I felt hyped. But, it wasn’t any violin emotion like that.” (laughter)

*On if the significance of being last out of the tunnel for the Ravens was explained to him: *“No, Chad [Steele, vice president of public relations] was just like, ‘Hey, you’re last.’ I was like, ‘OK, cool.’” (laughter)

*On what he is looking forward to in Thursday’s game: *“I’m looking forward to facing [Carson] Wentz in live action. I’m looking forward to playing technique-sound football. I’m looking forward just to seeing how we react. I’m looking forward to the corrections, as well.”

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