HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
Opening statement:"Alright, so as everyone can see, we have another arm out here today visiting practice. Do you know who that is? Josiah Gray, pitcher for the Nats [Washington Nationals].
(points to Josiah Gray)"Now they know. Now they know. I love it.
"That's funny. (Reporter: 'It looks like he could play football.')He looks great; he looks like an athlete. [He's] been a Ravens fan pretty much his whole life, [growing up] in New Rochelle [NY]. Pretty cool. I said, 'Why a Ravens fan?' He said, 'Well, I just didn't like the Giants or the Jets, and I liked Ray Lewis.' (laughter)That's a pretty normal story, right? So, what questions do you have?"
As the roster cutdown happens by tomorrow at 4 p.m., what are the discussions like from now until then? _(Jamison Hensley) _"Most of it has been discussed. We have a plan already, and we've started putting it into effect. There's a lot of considerations: position value, special teams value, also practice squad value [and] strategy. [Executive vice president & general manager] Eric [DeCosta] and his guys have to look at strategy in terms of who might get claimed or not get claimed, or where we are with health at certain positions. Those are all considerations that have to be made. So, we'll probably take our time through until tomorrow to wrap it all up. Then, probably, honestly the next couple of days after that, there will be some things happening."
Are you concerned at all with the running backs group with RB J.K. Dobbins' availability for Week 1 questionable and RB Gus Edwards on PUP? _(David Andrade) _"Well, Gus [Edwards] won't be ready; he's out until Week 4. He won't be ready before Week 4 because of his [PUP] designation. And J.K. [Dobbins], if J.K. can go out right now, that would be great. I would be excited. He had a good practice today. If not, we have the guys that will play. So, we're good either way."
CB Damarion Williams is limited right now, but he led the NFL in punt return average during the preseason. Is he an option for you back there? _(Todd Karpovich) _"He is. But the other guy [Devin Duvernay] that you guys might have forgotten about because you haven't seen [him] in a couple of weeks led the league last year in punt returns. So, I feel really confident about that position. We have three excellent returners; you put James Proche II in there with Devin Duvernay as well. "
On Friday, T Ronnie Stanley passed his physical. Was he at practice today? What is his schedule? _(Bo Smolka) _"He didn't come out today. We'll be looking for him maybe tomorrow. They have a plan in there, and they're kind of working him back in. So, when he's out there in individual, we'll start coaching him."
This is the first preseason where your starters played little to none. Has that effected your feel for preparation and do you feel different heading into Week 1 this year? _(Mark Viviano) _"Well, it feels different. Sure, we've never done it before here. We've always played our guys. We haven't played them as much as Andy [Reid] and Coach [Bill] Belichick do, but we've played them more in that world. We've been more in that world in the past; we've played our guys to some degree. So, this is the first time we haven't played the starters really at all, except for the guys who were younger or we felt needed it. So, we'll find out. It's new."
Have you received any more definitive news on DB Kevon Seymour's injury status? _(Luke Jones) _"We did. He has an ankle sprain. So, that's good news. It's not going to be like a week, it could be a few weeks. But we'll have him sometime early in the season."
Should we read into the low run game output during the preseason since a lot of the starters weren't out there? Is that a concern at all? _(Pete Gilbert) _"No, that's not a concern at all. You work on things that you want to work on, you're watching things that you want to see. We practice our run game every single day, and we'll expect to go out there and execute it very well."
In terms of the starters not playing during the preseason, did you have to do anything extra during practice to make up for those missed reps? _(Cordell Woodland) _"Those guys have been practicing all the way through camp. We've had our padded days, and we've had our non-padded fast days and all those kinds of things. So, they've been in practice; they've been practicing. So, no, is the short answer. Just continue to practice the way that we have been."
G Ben Powers didn't play on Saturday. Does that say anything about where you are with the left guard competition? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"We're probably at the point now where we're just not going to talk about that. We have our plans, but there's no strategic value in announcing them."
At outside linebacker, do you see position flexibility with any of the more traditional rush guys, such as LB Steven Means, who could also play 'Sam' linebacker? _(Ryan Mink) _"Those guys are outside 'backers, so, sure, they can play 'Sam' or rush, if you want to call it that when we go into our base, or what we call our Raven package. They can play either side."
One guy we haven't asked you about is S Ar'Darius Washington. He was on the team last year; we know he had the foot injury, and it was a long road back after that. But how has he looked the last couple of weeks, as far as where he stacks up trying to compete for a roster spot? _(Luke Jones) _"Yes, he [Ar'Darius Washington] is in the mix. We'll see. He's looked good. You've watched him, you've seen him; he's made plays. The thing about him [is] he's a tough football player. He's got a great nose for the ball – to use the cliché – and he plays good football out there. Now, he also made a few mistakes, because he hasn't played for a while, [he] wasn't always in the right spot – he knows that – but he'll clean that up. I think he's done a good job. He's put himself in consideration."
If T Ronnie Stanley can come back and practice this week, do you think there's a chance for him to be ready Week 1? (Jamison Hensley) _"I think there's a chance, but I wouldn't comment on what the number is – for strategic reasons." _(Reporter: "What if we said you're awesome?" – laughter) No, it's in-season now. It's all been fun and games up until this point. (laughter)It's game on now."
How does it feel to have these two weeks until you get to Week 1? After the last preseason game, it's just extended out. _(Pete Gilbert) _"It feels great. It feels great. We like it. I'm a fan of it. I want to just work on some things this week, give the guys a break over the weekend – a chance to catch their breath – and come back for game week next week."
With all the work to do on your roster, how much attention is put into preparing for the Jets, at this point? (Mark Viviano) _"We've been preparing for the Jets and the Dolphins and the Patriots and the Bills and the Steelers and the Bengals and the Browns, I would say. _(laughter) We've sprinkled all that stuff in throughout camp and the offseason – that's part of what we do. But it hasn't been focused, per se, so now we start turning towards the Jets and the first four games, but mainly the Jets."
Have you had the chance to look at the tape regarding C Tyler Linderbaum, and what did you see out of him? _(Kyle Barber) _"Yes, [he played in] only nine plays, which [was] probably the right thing to do. But good – he looked good. He handled it well. [There are] some things with cadence and things like that, [so] it was good that we got him out there, so he has a feel for it before he goes in … We're going to be in a very hostile environment; it's not going to be anything like what we had at home in a preseason game.
"It's going to be September 11th – 9/11 in New York. And God Bless all the first responders and all the brave souls from 9/11.
"I was in my office getting ready to play … We ended up playing the Seahawks the next week out there … I think we were getting ready to play the [New York] Giants. You can go back and check the Eagles' schedule on that to make sure. [Executive assistant] Carrol Cullen comes in – it was Andy [Reid's] administrative assistant – [and] she says, 'Turn the TV on.' I turn the TV on; there's a hole in one of the buildings. 'What happened? A plan flew in.' I'm thinking a little plane flew in there. And I'm watching it, and just as I'm watching it, the second plane flies into the other tower. And then you knew the world had changed; you didn't know what you knew, but you went like, 'This isn't normal.' I bet everybody here can say where they were when that happened, right? So, to be playing in New York on 9/11 is going to be quite an honor."
On Friday, you officially put OLB Tyus Bowser on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, and we know that keeps him out the first four weeks of the season. Do you still feel good about where he is in his rehab? He got injured at the end of last year, but do you feel like he'll be ready on the earlier end? _(Luke Jones) _"I feel really good about his rehab. I've seen him rehab, I've seen him move, I've seen how strong he looks. He looks really good. Part of that is how the player feels – just being as straight as [he] can be with it. He's got to feel right. And so, we're not going to put a player out there until he feels right, he's confident and all those kinds of things. But as far as all the measurables, he looks really good, and I'm confident that when he comes back, he's going to have a great year."
You and executive vice president & general manager Eric DeCosta talk about the culture you guys have built here. Does that extend to talking to some of those vested veterans that you can work into part of that plan of bringing back even if you don't have them on the initial 53-man roster? (Jonas Shaffer) _"You're going for a little draft strategy there. You're going to get into [executive vice president & general manager] Eric [DeCosta's] head a little bit, which I appreciate – that's good. _(laughter)But I would say, yes, it does, it does. Guys want to be here, so if you can work some of the things you're talking about out, you try to do that."
We know players want to get to the season as fast as possible, especially in preseason and training camp. Is it the same way as a coach – are you ready to just get to the regular season? _(Cordell Woodland) _"Oh, yes, yes. It's time. Going into this last [preseason] game, you start getting a little itchy. It's time to go."
This might fall into strategic, but is there any more information on Poe? Is he going to be ready? (Jamison Hensley) _"Yes, Poe will be back. For all the kids out there, Poe will be back. _(laughter)How's that? Did that work? (laughter)God Bless him. He's out there … He had a tough injury." (Reporter: "Did you see the play?") "I did. I showed it to the team." (Reporter: "No you didn't.")"I did. We all watched it. (laughter)
"Did you see the one of the Atlanta Braves' mascot?" (Reporter: "Destroying kids." – laughter)"We had a little conversation in our team meeting room; if that's our kid out there, how are we responding to that? (laughter)And the consensus was we all would have been shocked at first, like, 'Is this really happening?' Then after that, I don't know.
"Alright, well I better get out of here." (laughter)