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Transcripts: Monday Training Camp (8/15)


Opening statement: (Puts on Orioles' hat) "How about that? Good to see everybody. I appreciate you being here. Great practice. Guys were fighting. [It was the] second day in a row in pads, and I thought they fought through it pretty well and we got better.

"How about the Orioles? How about them Orioles? What are they – like 24-11 since July 3rd? Best record in the American League; fighting for a playoff spot. [I] love the way they're playing. Love their manager – he's got them going – Brandon Hyde, my guy. [I have] just so much respect for the way they're playing. I mean, game-winning RBIs, extra-base hits, running the bases, got a lot of speed on the team. Are they fun to watch?" (Reporters: "Yes.") "They're fun to watch. You're such a cynical guy. You're kind of giving me the … They're really fun to watch!" (Reporter: "I'm out here doing everything the whole time.") "Oh, you've been watching too much football. OK, fair enough. (laughter) That's fair enough. I've been watching some baseball, and they look good; man, they look good. [They have] young pitching. It's been fun to watch that team. They're never out of it, coming back at the end, always fighting – exciting baseball. So, go Orioles. Let's go, man!

"OK, what questions do you have?"

How did RB J.K. Dobbins look back out there after those two evaluation days? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"He [J.K. Dobbins] looked good. He's kind of back on track, and I thought he looked a little better than he did before – last week. So, he continues to improve, and we'll see where it goes."

It seemed like he took maybe a few more explosive runs. Are we going to see him ramp it up a little bit every few days? _(Childs Walker) _"I think it depends on the injury and just the improvement with it – the progress he [J.K. Dobbins] makes from one day to the next. That remains to be seen."

We saw CB Marcus Peters today. Is he the same kind of deal – practice a few days, then evaluate him? _(Bo Smolka) _"They've got a plan for that. It's not a matter of how far along guys are. Marcus [Peters] is in a good place. [He] came back from PUP [physically unable to perform], did individual today. That was good. Ar'Darius Washington was back today doing individual. It was good to see that. So, those guys are in [a] process. We have a plan for each guy. It's a different plan; everybody has got their own plan. So, we try to bridge them back from the rehab part of it to the practice part of it and the game part of it. We put them on that bridge, and they work across the bridge, and they get to the other side."

What do you think about the possibility of maybe facing QB Joe Flacco in Week 1? _(David Andrade) _"We'll prepare. We'll prepare for the Jets. We'll prepare for all the quarterbacks. Obviously, we have great respect for all their guys, but Joe [Flacco] we know, and he's a Raven. Once a Raven, always a Raven. So, we've got a lot of respect for Joe – and great family. But at this point in time, we're preparing for the players on the Jets and the schemes and the things that they do, and that will be part of it."

Do you think the scouting report will be a little bit easier for you guys, because of the history with QB Joe Flacco? _(Jamison Hensley) _"Not really. It will be … It's where it's at now. He [Joe Flacco] has been playing for three of four years now away from us, and he's had some great moments. I've seen him on TV a few times. We've never played against his team yet, I don't believe, but it's been fun watching him, [and] it will be different when you play against him as an opponent. We haven't done that yet."

At outside linebacker, OLBs Steven Means and Daelin Hayes have had a ton of reps. What are you seeing from those two over the course of camp? _(Luke Jones) _"Yes, I think they're both doing very well. They're both very different kinds of players. Daelin [Hayes] is more of a SAM, kind of an outside 'backer, stand-up linebacker-type guy, with that edge-rush ability; Steven [Means] is more of what we'd call a RUSH, more of a defensive end-type, body type. Of course, we mix things up and drop guys, too, but [they're] two different kinds of guys. They're both doing well in their own right, and the games are going to be big for those guys."

We saw OLB Odafe Oweh come up slow on one play. Did he just get the wind knocked out of him? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"Yes, there's no problem there."

It's still early with TE Isaiah Likely, but how much can he benefit from coming to an offense where tight ends are a big part of it, and also learning from a guy like TE Mark Andrews? _(Cliff Brown) _"It's got to be big. He [Isaiah Likely] is out there a lot. He's taken tons of reps; it has to help you as a rookie, as a young player. And then working with Mark [Andrews], working with Lamar [Jackson] … [Tight ends coach] George Godsey does a great job with those guys; [offensive assistant] Travis [Switzer] does a great job with those guys. So, hey, it's a young guy, he's a rookie, and it'll be up to him. We'll see how he does."

We're seeing G Ben Powers take center reps every day now. How has he been doing with those? _(Childs Walker) _"He [Ben Powers] is doing good. He's doing a good job. You've got to have versatility. [Kevin] Zeitler was telling me they tried to make him a center – not as a starter, but as an emergency backup – for three or four years, and then that was done. He said he hasn't done that since. So, if Ben [Powers] can do that, it's always an addition to your career. It helps you, and it helps us. He could be a starting guard, but [also] be an emergency center if you lose enough guys. So, it's important."

It looks like the physicality is ramping up. How do you feel like the players have responded to that? _(Cordell Woodland) _"So much of it is … And the thing we tried to focus on the last two days was the fundamentals of the physicality. So, we're trying to get our pad level down on both sides; we're trying to get out angles right and our wrap and our front-up tackling right on defense; we're trying to get in good position with our feet on the downfield blocks and then sustain with our feet and try to keep our hands in the right spot. So, [we're doing] those fundamental things you can really only do in pads, and you can't really do them live, because we're not doing live work. But it's really valuable, and we need to do it to have a chance to be good in the games."

You were so generous with your first preseason game insight and informing us of who was going to play. Does the same go for the next preseason game in Arizona? (Morgan Adsit) _"It will be the same for some guys and more for other guys – I can tell you that. And you can probably extrapolate some of the guys – who they are. I always liked the word extrapolate. I'm not sure what it means, but I like it – it sounds good." _(laughter – senior vice president of communications Chad Steele: "You forgot to lead with, 'You're awesome.'")"It's too late now, it's too late now." (Reporter: "Will Lamar [Jackson] take any snaps?")"Will Lamar [Jackson] take any snaps? Let's leave that for a couple more days. Good question. Good question, though. Really good question."

What is the schedule for Arizona? _(Morgan Adsit) _"We're going out Thursday after what we do on Thursday, and then we're going to be out there Friday, Saturday and then Sunday for the game. So, a little bit earlier."

There's a first cutdown of five guys and a second cutdown after. What's the rational for cutting five? (Bo Smolka) _"That's a good question. I really don't know. I wasn't involved in those conversations, nor was I asked my opinion." _(Reporter: "What's your opinion on it?") "I don't have one right now. I know we've got to get down [by] five guys. (laughter) I have other things to think about right now."

As you get some guys back who were out with injury last year, is there a different or more cautious evaluation than before, based on what you witnessed last year? (Mark Viviano) _"You mean as far as the timing of bringing them back?" _(Reporter: "Yes.")Well, I don't know. [Chief medical officer] Dr. [Andrew] Tucker is still our lead team physician, so he leads that. We have kind of a different organization in the training room; [head certified athletic trainer] Adrian Dixon is here now; [senior assistant athletic trainer] Ron Medlin is still a part of what we do – he does a great job. So, whether that operates a little bit differently, I don't know, but I don't think it's a result of what we went through last year, as much as it's going to be situation to situation, [where] they make their best medical opinion of where we're at and just, case-by-case, decide what to do, and we abide by it."


On his impressions of DT Travis Jones in training camp:"He's a stud. He has all the tools to be a special player in this league. His mindset is that of a guy who's hungry and wants to be great. I think it's a great environment for him to flourish and develop. This organization is special. The coaching staff that we have I feel like really fit the ability to be able to bring the best out of him. He has good vets in the room with Michael Pierce and Brent Urban. I feel like we really are … It's a great place to develop, especially for young D-linemen, but he has all the tools in place, and he's flashing at camp. You can tell he is going to be a special guy."

On if he particularly enjoys watching DT Travis Jones' one-on-one reps:"Oh yes, oh yes. It's fun. He's really been very dominate against starter-level players, too. It's not like he's doing it against young guys; he's doing it against the 'ones' too, which is kind of impressive. I feel like he can help us win this year, and he's going to be a great player for a long time to come, God willing he stays healthy."

On if DT Travis Jones reminds him of anyone he has played with previously:"He's kind of a unique guy. Not a lot of guys have his power and raw strength – not that I've played with. I know some other guys said he reminds them of Fletcher Cox or some other things. Guys who just have that raw strength and can get off the ball really fast. But he is unique. I've done a lot of, I guess they call it 'giving him a look,' and kind of do a scout team rep where I'm giving an offensive player and going against him. I play around a little bit. I'm not going full speed, but I'm like, 'If I did go full speed, that might hurt a little bit.' He's a tough guy."

On if he has a preference of playing in the preseason and if he thinks he would be ready for Week One without playing:"If you ask me, I tell them how I feel. I don't think I need much at all, if any at all, really. I feel like in practice we get enough. There is a level that a game elevates to that you kind of want to get, but I think that we can get that at practice. We should be getting it at practice. If we're not getting that at practice, then we're not practicing hard enough. So, I feel like there have been moments in camp so far where I feel like it was kind of like a game, and I think that helped our young guys be ready and I think that's why they looked really good in the last preseason game. I think that's probably why we have 21-straight preseason game wins. There's definitely a formula there, but I don't think that I need much. If [head] coach [John Harbaugh] asked me, I'm ready to go September 11."

On CB Marcus Peters being back at practice and how important he is to the defense:"Yes, that's good one. That's a pleasant surprise, because when you asked him about it, he was kind of just like, 'When I'm ready, I'm ready. I'll let you know, but I'm not going to try to put a date on it. I'm just going to let my body talk to me.' So, it was good to see that he's improving and making the strides to be ready to go out there and help us compete. This team is very, very talented, and we just got a whole lot better with him on the field."

On going back to Arizona where he was drafted:"Yes, a lot of my family still lives there, so it will be good to go see my family. It would be way different if it was like a regular season game, but in the preseason it's just going to be a fun trip. Everyone is asking me, 'What are the good places to eat at? Where to go to kind of relax a little bit?' I'm giving out a whole lot of advice, but for the most part, it's going to be a good team bonding trip. I think having a couple of days out there is nice to be able to connect, and really get away and really hang with the guys."

On how CB Marcus Peters returning changes the defense on the field:"Well, he's probably the most vocal defensive back that we have. I think that we have some other guys who are really vocal now as well, but when he's out there he's a great leader. The way that he communicates to make sure that we're on the same page helps contribute to our success a lot. Not only is it his factor as he plays, because he's a great player, obviously – two-time All-Pro – just a beast out there on the field. But, his leadership and making sure that other guys around him are also playing at a high level I think is where we are really going to benefit. I'm excited to have him back; he's a great guy."

On going to Arizona, which happens to be the site of Super Bowl LVII:"It is. It is. That's something that when you're talking to the guys, when you get in that arena it's just like, 'Picture yourself here in February.' Get used to being here. Take in the environment, take in all of your senses. Just feel it. There's something to visualizing it. I think visualization is a big part of this game and being able to see yourself successfully. Everyone wants to be in the Super Bowl, and it's going to be a hard route for whoever makes it. It's never easy, but having a chance to go there and just kind of be in that environment, I think is just a reminder to guys, 'Get us where we want to be back here, in this stadium, playing on this field for a chance to win the Super Bowl.' To be World Champs, that's the goal."

On the challenges for defensive linemen to stopping wide-zone running schemes and why it has become more popular:"That's a great question. I think this league has always been kind of a copycat league, and it's worked. Guys have had a lot of success with it, and I think that just making defensive linemen move, linebackers move, sideline to sideline. It gives you just a crease for one guy to mess up, you can capitalize on it more. You definitely have to move in unison to kind of build that wall and be able to travel together. If one guy kind of gets out of position, it's like the special teams, you have to replace him. So, it's tough, but at the same time, I feel like there are some guys who do really well against it. I love playing against the zone teams. I feel like you can set the edge, and make the ball come back from a three-technique a lot of times. So, you kind of eliminate one side of the field. I feel like the reason why it is everywhere though is that it works. Guys have had a lot of success. But I do think that we were built to stop it, and hopefully we're definitely going to have some of that in our playbook as well. We still have the downhill gap scheme as well. So, it's going to be fun. I think that the biggest thing you can do is mix it up, keep teams guessing. If you know exactly what a team is going to do, you have a better chance of stopping it. But, if you can mix it up and make it complicated, you give yourself just a little bit of an edge, which you need in this game."

On what he thinks of the weapons the Ravens added on the defensive line this offseason: "A whole lot. When we're on that field, we're watching tape, you see a lot of good ball being played. We have nine guys in the D-line room right now, and all nine of those guys are making plays consistently. Honestly, this might be the most talented – from top to bottom … You've always had those top-loaded talented teams, but you don't really see the bottom tier of the roster, the guys who are young, really come along so fast and be this good. And that's a testament to our front office for bringing the right guys in and then the coaching for getting them prepared. But wow, we're really nine deep. All nine guys in our D-line room, I think, can play on Sunday and help us win ballgames."


On how it felt to get his first sack in the preseason game last Thursday:"Oh, yes, the first preseason game of my NFL career, and to be able to go out there, get my first sack, it was an exciting moment for me. I'm going to remember that for the rest of my life, for sure, man."

On if he got to show off his agility on the sack, given the quarterback had escaped the pocket:"Yes, when I play … I feel like I was … Yes, I was showing off my athletic ability out there, chasing out Malik [Willis]; he's a speedy guy, for sure."

On if he gets even more pumped up when he gets a sack outside the numbers, given he lines up more in the middle:"I get excited any time I get a sack, really. It's a hard thing to do at any level, especially in the NFL, so that's a big moment for me."

On how he handles all the buzz he's generated during training camp:"Yes, my teammates, they're just good guys, just out here helping me get better at my craft each and every day. And having them notice it means a lot to me."

On if he sees the praise his teammates like NT Michael Pierce have given him, or if he'd rather block that stuff out:"Yes, I hear it, but my mindset every day is just to come in and try to get better every day, and don't think about yesterday – just worry about [today]."

On where he thinks he's made his biggest strides in camp:"For me, personally, I feel like I'm in a little better shape, better conditioning, so I [can] be on the field a little longer."

On how he thinks being more of a situational player at the NFL level can help him, given that he played a ton of snaps at Connecticut:"Yes, [at] 'UConn' [University of Connecticut] I did play a lot, and now in the league, I'm not going to be able to play on as many snaps, so I feel like I'm going to be more fresh and have a better impact on the game."

On what's surprised him the most about the NFL:"Really, probably the speed. My first couple of snaps, things moved a little fast, but after those snaps went by, things slowed down for me."

On being double-teamed in college and maybe not garnering that much attention in the NFL:"In college, I was double-teamed a lot, and now, in the league, I probably won't be double-teamed as much; I've got to make a couple plays first to start getting more double-teams."

On if he has any personal goals for his rookie season:"I came to camp with no personal goals. My goal, for me, personally, was just to come in every day, put my best foot forward and be ready to work."


On how it feels for practice to be more physical:"It feels like football. It feels like football. Pretty much, that's football. Putting on the pads, going to fly around, making form tackles, working on your angles and stuff like that and making plays on the ball."

On how having CB Marcus Peters back at practice changes the dynamic:"It boosts the energy a lot. 'MP' [Marcus Peters], he is a vet, big dog, basically. He's been making a lot of plays in the NFL. Being a rookie, I look up to the great guys that make plays. 'Marlo' [Marlon Humphrey], 'MP', all of the guys that are around us. So, it was cool having him back and seeing him move around."

On if there is anything that he didn't expect about camp or if it is pretty much what he expected:"I really didn't expect anything. I came in just ready to learn. However it went, I will adapt to it, basically. So, I didn't have any expectations. I just wanted to adapt, see how it went, get used to it and get into a routine."

On becoming a fan favorite and how he responds to that:"I wouldn't say I've seen it, but pretty much I come every day to work [and] keep that positive energy. I want to be a fan favorite, but also, I have to get on the field and make some plays. That's a great honor."

On what he has been able to show so far in training camp:"That I'm versatile, and I can play."

On if it was an easy switch going from cornerback to safety in the second half of the first preseason game:"Yes, most definitely. Every DB in the DB room has to know every position, so it wasn't anything crazy or a crazy change. I play safety in practice here and there. I play nickel, corner. So, the game came, they plugged me in, and I just went out there and played."

On if he is fired up to play preseason football:"Yes, yes. For sure, for sure. After the game, I said, 'I'm an NFL player now.' I got my first NFL game out of the way. I've been feeling like a college player [because] I hadn't gotten an NFL game in. So, after that first game, I said, 'I belong.'"

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